Parenting Tip of the Week – Cooking Alongside Children

Did you know that cooking alongside your children is a great chance to model healthy behavior and build healthy habits in your kids? Today our Parenting Tip of the Week has some simple tasks you can give your children to help you in the kitchen.

Most parents have dealt with the “problem” of your children wanting to help you in the kitchen. While it’s sweet that they want to help, it can be hard to juggle making a meal while keeping your child safe in the kitchen. Here are some ways you can have younger children assist that will keep them occupied and helpful!

If your 2 or 3 year old wants to help, they can…

  • Rinse the vegetables or fruit you’ll be using.
  • Wipe down the dinner table and counters you’re not using.
  • Bring you ingredients and kid-safe utensils like spoons.
  • Put things you’re done using in the sink or trash.

If your 4 to 6 year old wants to help, they can…

  • Peel fruit or husk vegetables.
  • Set the place settings at your dinner table.
  • Help measure ingredients.
  • Stir and mix things in bowls, such as salads or sauces.

Use Cooking Time to Teach your Children about Healthy Habits

When you cook with your children, you also have the opportunity to teach them about healthy habits. While cooking, talk to your child about the ingredients you’re using and explain why they’re healthy. For example, you can use opportunities like husking corn or peeling carrots to show that not only is the food fun to prepare, but healthy too. For example, a simple question like “which do you like better, corn or carrots?” provides an easy opening for you to talk about how certain foods are healthier than others.

Cooking alongside your children also helps you model behavior and instill good habits. Cooking at home and using healthy ingredients can reinforce these actions for your children. Similarly, eating meals as a family helps reinforce these behaviors while offering you more time to talk and bond with your children. According to the American Psychological Association, eating meals as a family can have significant health benefits later in life.

How do your kids help you in the kitchen? Tweet us @PCAAmerica or leave a comment on our Facebook page and share your experiences and tips!