It’s no secret that I love to cook. There is just something so satisfying about creating something delicious using simple ingredients that everyone enjoys eating. When my boys were younger I attempted to get them into cooking because I thought it was something that we could do together that we both enjoyed. Unfortunately the love of creating a meal was lost on them. They have zero interest in it.
The good news is my daughter seems to be enamored with pretty much anything I do, including cooking. I guess there really is a difference between sons and daughters, at least in my family. Even though Ella just turned three we have been working together in the kitchen pretty much the entire time she has been alive. Though cooking with a toddler isn’t for the faint of heart, I have discovered five fantastic reasons you should be in the kitchen cooking with toddlers!
1. Cooking gives your child the feeling of accomplishment
Toddlers lives are filled with learning but often that learning comes with a lot of frustration and mistakes. Cooking with your child can show them that they are capable of creating something from start to finish. It feels good to throw simple ingredients in a dish, like UNCLE BEN’S® rice, frozen vegetables, chicken and a few other items and voila! An hour later you have a fragrant rice and chicken pot pie!
2. Following a recipe teaches your toddler why following directions is important.
When I was a grade schooler I was never good at following directions and often got questions wrong on tests because I didn’t bother to read what I was supposed to do before I rushed into it. By showing Ella that each step of preparing a meal needs to go in a certain order, I am hoping she won’t make the same mistakes as I did. Following directions is an important lesson to grasp and cooking with your toddler helps them learn this task.
3. Different tools have different jobs.
In the kitchen there are many different tools that are used to prepare a dish. Measuring cups are used to make sure the right amount of a certain ingredient is used, knives are used for cutting, and a blender is used to emulsify liquids. Each tool has a different job. You wouldn’t use a spatula to cut a carrot would you? By cooking with your toddler you are showing them that it is critical to use the right tool for the right job, and that each tool is important.
4. Creating something together is a great way to bond with your child.
I spend a lot of time with my kids, but that time isn’t always one on one while doing an activity. Most of the time it is me on the computer and Ella playing with her toys. Cooking gives me focused time where I can really bond with Ella because we are talking, sharing, and working as a team.
5. Chores can be fun!
There is a good argument to be made that cooking is a chore. Even for those of us who adore cooking, when it comes to figuring out what to serve, making a grocery list, buying food, preparing it, and then cleaning up afterwards it isn’t always all it is cracked up to be. And let’s face it. Chores are called chores and not play for a reason. But when you turn a chore into something enjoyable you teach your toddler that there are ways to make something you don’t like to do into something fun and exciting.
If you have a toddler or kids of any age, now is the time to teach them to cook. UNCLE BEN’S® has some fantastic recipes that are perfect for teaching your toddler kitchen basics such as Crockpot Chicken & Rice Supreme, Chicken Pot Pie (this is what I made with Ella and it was a success!), Sydney’s Rice & Chicken, and Whole Grain Santa Fe Chicken Quesadilla. They are so passionate about teaching kids how to cook they even have a special program called Ben’s Beginners™ which is currently running a fun contest where you can shoot a video of you and your kids cooking and possibly win prizes! Videos must be entered by 10/10/14.
So tell me, do you cook with your children? How old were they when you started? If you don’t have any kids, did you ever help your mom or dad cook? How old were you?
This Post Brought To You By The UNCLE BEN’S® Brand.