Cooking with Your Child at Every Age

How old is old enough to let that special child in your life help you in the kitchen? The answer might surprise you.

A couple weeks ago, we published an article on 5 habits that cultivate a love of cooking and good food in your children. The response to the article was so encouraging that we’ve decided to write some more family-focused pieces.

It doesn’t matter if the children in your life are your children, your grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or some other relational dynamic. Giving those young spirits experiences in the kitchen early and often has been shown to have a direct impact on their views of healthy food and their ability to navigate around a kitchen well into adulthood.

Kids are very capable helpers in the kitchen, and it is that shared time learning about preparing food that they get their first tastes of feeling grown-up and confident in their self-sufficiency.

Here is a list of widely regarded age-appropriate kitchen responsibilities, broken up in general stages. These are purposefully broad because every child is different, and it’s important to take that into account when deciding how much independence they should have.

But, without further ado, here is our list:

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5 Habits to Help Your Kids Love to Cook

Studies show that children who help with cooking and meal preparation go on to lead healthier lives and consume more fruits and vegetables than kids who do not.

Cooking with your children is a romantic ideal conjuring up images of smiling children with their hands in a pristine bowl of baking dough. In reality, it’s often kitchen floors covered in unrecognizable goo, hand mixer mishaps, and high blood pressure.

Here are a 5 cooking habits that will make the culinary experiences with your child more enjoyable with effects that ripple long after the memory fades.

Engage with Your Child at the Grocery Store

The earliest and often the best places to start a love of cooking and good food is at the grocery store.

Even one way conversations about what makes one bundle of tomatoes more desirable than another, how delicious properly cooked asparagus is, or having them help to decide whether to have chicken or pork on Wednesday all sets the stage for them making the same decisions for themselves later in life.

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