6 easy ways to introduce your child to cooking
Cooking boosts well-being and confidence - here's how to introduce your kids to the kitchen this fall!
Get the new school year off to a great start, no matter what school looks like for you! Getting your kids involved in cooking and preparing meals not only builds life skills like independence, patience and resilience, it also increases their safety awareness in the kitchen, and boosts everyone’s well-being. Here are 6 easy ways to get your kids cooking and helping out in the kitchen this autumn.
1. Teach them knife skills:
Yes, we’re starting with maybe the most intimidating lesson: teaching your kid to safely use a knife. But knife skills are an essential part of everyone’s safety education in the kitchen. Plus, it builds confidence for your kid (and peace of mind for you) when they’re able to safely help out with kitchen tasks. You’ll know your child is ready to use a knife if 1) they can stand solidly in front of a counter, and are able to see what they’re working on and 2) they are able to focus on a task (and keep looking at it) with a little prompting from you. Learn more about how to teach your child basic knife skills with our tutorial.
2. Teach them to be your sous-chef in the kitchen:
Even very young children can be useful kitchen helpers! Check out our list of tasks kids can help out with, from beginners learning to stir, spoon or scrub (the 3 S’s!) to advanced cooks ready to take over making a meal. If you have a kid who struggles with mealtimes, here are some extra ideas for helping kids to overcome sensory issues and expand their horizons in the kitchen. For older kids, we’ve got a tutorial specially made for teaching your teens more independent kitchen skills -- a delicious way to build everyone’s confidence!
3. Help them eat their homework:
Cooking together is a tasty way to practice skills learned at school, as well as to get interested in new subjects. Whether you’re looking for help with math, or cool kitchen-based ideas for enriching subjects like history, astronomy, science, zoology and language arts, you’ll find amazing cooking activities here.
4. Try after-school baking - it’s a great way to help worried kids relax after a long day at school:
Everyone knows that cooking can be therapeutic, and there’s some evidence to suggest that for kids with anxiety, cooking can be a wonderful way to promote good mental health and well-being. We’ve got more on the science of that in this article, plus easy suggestions for helping you stay calm and enjoy cooking with your kids.
5. Weekend baking projects - pick a more ambitious project together and run with it:
Does your kid keep suggesting projects that are maybe a touch more ambitious than you have time for on a weeknight? (Hello, fancy desserts!) Save those great ideas for the weekend: you’d be surprised to see what you can accomplish together in an afternoon, with a little patience and planning. We’ve got ideas for all kinds of cooking projects to get you started here, here and here.
6. Make space for younger kids in the kitchen:
For younger children, a kitchen workspace might look like a basket they can reach by themselves in your cupboards that holds their own small kitchen tools or clean-up supplies. It might even hold the makings for easy snacks and drinks so that children can fix themselves a snack or a lunch (this may be especially helpful if you’re working and schooling from home this year!). We’ve got more ideas on what these spaces can look like and how helpful they can be here.
What are your favourite ways to get your kids into the kitchen? Join us on Facebook and Instagram, where we’re sharing more fall recipes and inspiration.