This is a guest article by Elli B. She writes about all things home-related everything from how to keep your family safe at home, house renovation and design techniques, DIY home security, strategic landscaping and other measures that you can take to make sure the family is happy and healthy!
At the end of a long day, cooking often feels more like a chore than an opportunity to spend quality time with the family. When you factor in limited time, zapped energy, and a household brimming with hectic schedules, getting everyone into the kitchen to whip up a meal may feel like more trouble than it’s worth. However, if you’re family interacts more with a computer screen than each other, cooking together is the perfect way to reconnect. Here are five solid reasons to make the time to cook together as a family:
- Reinforces Healthy Eating Habits
With childhood obesity quickly becoming a problem of epidemic portions in this country, home cooking is even more important since meals prepared at home are typically more nutritious than meals eaten out. If you want your children to make healthy eating choices, you must teach them how to make wise choices. Children learn their eating habits and develop food preferences through your family’s environment. By modeling the correct behavior, you will help your children form healthy habits that last a lifetime.
- Encourages Family Conversation and Bonding
Cooking together helps build closer relationships with your children. Turn off the TV and computer and don’t answer the phone while you make dinner. This dedicated time in the kitchen gives everyone in the family a chance to talk about their day, learn more about each other, and build pleasant family memories.
- Combats Finicky Eating Habits
Children are more likely to eat food that they had a part in making. If you have a finicky eater, let her help you with dinner so she can see, inspect, and handle the food she’s going to eat. By becoming actively involved with the creation of family meals, your child will be more likely to at least taste the finished product.
- It’s Educational
Aside from the obvious benefit of learning how to cook, children can practice and learn other skills such as reading recipes, measuring items, and following directions. Additionally, your children will work with simple math equations like addition, subtraction and understanding fractions.
- Teaches Responsibility and Builds Self-Esteem
Helping create a meal includes a lot of responsibility – you have to follow directions, use proper safety when working around knives and hot surfaces, and time everything. By allowing your children to share in the responsibility of creating the family meal, you are giving them a sense of importance, which will help increase their self-esteem. Since preparing a meal results in a tangible reward in a short period of time, it’s a wonderful way to build confidence.
Tasks for Kids
The best part about cooking together as a family is there’s no right way or wrong way to do it. Little hands can help pour, measure, or turn recipe book pages. To help guide you on your next family cook night, here are a few tasks that children with:
- Cracking eggs
- Measuring ingredients
- Stirring ingredients
- Adding additional ingredients
- Washing vegetables
- Tearing lettuce
- Setting the table
- Find and give ingredients to mom or dad
No matter what tasks you decide to give your children to get them involved, be sure to offer plenty of guidance, encouragement, and support.