How to Help Your Kids Learn to Cook

Last updated May 2, 2023
By Renae D'Andrea

What if I told you that there was something you could do to help make meals with your child less stressful, for both you and for them? And that something could also help to improve the pre-meal chaos as well? Would you be interested?

I’ve heard many times before that cooking with your kids is just being an overachiever. That it's not feasible for busy parents, and stressful beyond belief. And I get that. I do! The thought of it can be stressful if you’ve never done it before. (And even if you have!) But it’s also something that can have immense benefits for both you and your child. It's not something that we want to just relegate to “extra.” Helping your kids learn to cook really can be a game changer!

Why Helping Kids Learn to Cook Is Important

Having kids in the kitchen and cooking is one of the few ways that has actually been shown to help with your child’s diet. By exposing them to different foods while cooking, and helping them to explore all the different properties of that food, kids are more likely to expand the variety of foods that they’re willing to eat. 

That alone can help to improve the mealtime environment. It can also help to reinforce that avoiding pressure at the table is beneficial, and that there are other pressure-free ways to help your child learn about food and eating.

But that’s not the only benefit of getting your kids in the kitchen. Getting your kids in the kitchen is also an easy way to help them to transition between an activity and sitting down for a meal.

If your child is one that struggles with leaving an activity and moving on to the next, starting to incorporate them into cooking can help to make that transition easier. So that when it’s time to sit down for the meal, they’re already around food. They're ready to see what they’ve made on the table, and generally much more excited about meals. Especially compared to pulling them directly from a fun activity they were doing.

Mother and daughter cooking

Why Cooking with Kids is Beneficial for Parents, Too

We all want what’s best for our kids, but sometimes reality interferes with the best of intentions. Maybe you’ve always wanted to get your child in the kitchen. But just the thought of them cooking and you having to take time to supervise stresses you out.

I’m not going to lie and say that getting kids in the kitchen is stress-free. I will say that it is more like it swaps kinds of stress. Getting your kids cooking with you means they aren’t demanding your attention elsewhere while you’re trying to cook. They aren’t asking for help with whatever they are doing, fighting with their siblings, climbing on things or just generally doing things that they shouldn’t be.

That type of stress tends to make mealtimes, and getting ready for them, really hard. Trying to be 5 places at once isn’t easy for anyone.

So while cooking with your kids can be stressful at times, and potentially even more so as you figure out how to go about it, it quickly becomes something that can actually reduce your stress.

Once your child has had a few experiences in the kitchen, even when they are young and just barely a year old, it tends to be less stressful to have them there with you than doing other things that you would have to supervise.

Getting them in the kitchen can literally be the key to getting a meal on the table with less stress, not more! 

How to Get Kids Cooking in the Kitchen

If you follow traditional parenting advice, you might think of getting kids in the kitchen as letting them stir something, or bake something with you. More of an afterthought than an integral part of making a meal.

And when that is the case, it’s easy for having your kids in the kitchen to remain a very stressful activity.

But if you get them in the kitchen and help guide them through skills that they will need to learn to cook, suddenly, the stress decreases.

Now, I’m not talking about straight up training our toddlers! I’m talking about providing things like bowls and spoons in the kitchen. Things for them to experiment with to learn scooping and pouring. To help them learn to measure things out, or stir things. There are so many foundational activities that we often overlook that can help to occupy kids in the kitchen. As well as teach them skills that will help them as they grow. 

When you really think about it, these foundational skills and activities are the same no matter when your child starts cooking with you. Whether at 12 months or 6 years, or even later!

Kids in the Kitchen

To help guide you through getting your kids in the kitchen, and turning cooking with them into a fun and stress-free activity instead of one that makes you want to run the other direction, I've got you covered. I’m walking you through exactly what to do with your child in the kitchen in my new workshop that launches this coming Saturday, October 2nd.

In this brand new on-demand workshop, I’ll walk you through the research behind getting kids in the kitchen and why it’s important. And then I’ll give you my exact framework for helping to guide your child from never stepped foot in a kitchen to fully confident in how to cook a meal. I’ll also guide you through how to help your child learn to cut, from kids knives all the way through to adult knives. Get all the details on the workshop here!

Getting Kids in the Kitchen Can Be Fun!

Getting kids in the kitchen doesn’t have to be stressful, but it does take a little bit of know-how to achieve. Guiding them through the different activities and levels of skills, and knowing what to expect, is so key to reducing that stress! 

And knowing that getting your kids in the kitchen is going to improve their relationship with food and their diet is quite a powerful incentive for learning how to incorporate them into your kitchen and helping them to succeed with cooking.

Get step-by-step guidance for getting your kids in the kitchen. 

Grab the all new workshop Kids in the Kitchen for help with everything from how to start, to how to teach them knife skills. Available on-demand now!

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