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Connecting with children in the kitchen

There are many great reasons to get children into the kitchen, here are just a few.

Connecting with children in the kitchen

As well as developing the important life skill of cooking, involving children in the kitchen can help create healthy food habits. Children are more likely to try new foods, even those that were previously unappealing, if they have been involved in the preparation.

You can start involving your children in cooking from as early as 18 months old. Whether children wash vegetables, pour, grate, peel, stir, chop, roll or mix, there are many tasks suitable for little hands, with all sorts of learning opportunities.

Begin with basic tasks and progress them onto more complicated jobs as their skills develop.  It might take a little flexibility, a bit more time and more mess, but time with your young ones in the kitchen can be a valuable learning adventure for you both.   

Essential skills such as problem solving, hand/eye coordination, brain and language development are all developed in the kitchen, as well as fostering family bonding and togetherness. Below are some extra benefits to connecting with children in the kitchen:

 

Build Relationships

The kitchen is an ideal place to bring cooks of all ages together.  Children can spend quality time with their parents/caregivers or grandparents, sharing recipes or techniques, passing them on from one generation to the next.  It can also be a place to simply connect and check in with loved ones.  Siblings can get involved too, building stronger relationships between one another.

 

Boost Confidence

Children’s self-esteem and confidence can blossom in the kitchen, through giving children many opportunities to encourage and celebrate their skills and efforts. There’s nothing like the great sense of pride children feel when they’ve had a hand in preparing a dish for themselves or their family.  Try taking a step back and let your child do it for themselves, you might be surprised at how capable they are!

 

Social and Emotional Development

Helping to prepare and cook a meal requires patience – a fantastic skill to learn at an early age.  Food is great vehicle for communication, learning how to share and take turns. It also encourages thought and care and by involving children in cooking a meal for family or friends, it is a way of giving and showing love.

 

Cultural Connections

In most cultures, food plays an integral role. Apart from a source of nourishment, food is also regarded as a way of conveying thanks, condolences and hospitality.  Special events and celebrations such as birthdays and weddings are often based around food and can be a valuable way for children to connect with their culture.

Explore your own traditional cultural recipes or cooking methods or create other cultural dishes with your child in the kitchen.  This is a great way to experience new flavours, utilising past and present traditions.

What can kids do in the kitchen?

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The Fuelled4life team.