5 Benefits of Having Little Helpers in the Kitchen

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When I was a kid, I really did not spend that much time in the kitchen. I remember once, I intentionally stayed in the kitchen to watch my mom cook, so I could learn something. Honestly, I got bored, and I don’t think I really learned how to cook until I was in college.

I always liked the idea of one day having my kids in the kitchen, teaching them how to cook, even though this really wasn’t my own childhood experience. When I was a new mom, I was hanging out with a friend, who’s oldest daughter was already in high school. Her daughter had called during our girl time, asking about the whereabouts of a certain spice she needed to make a dish. After hanging up, my friend casually told me, “She’s making chicken curry for dinner tonight.”

I stared at her in amazement. Oh to one day pass the baton of dinner preparations to my children! When, oh when?

If you haven’t already started, here are five benefits of having your kids in the kitchen.

They will learn how to follow instructions.

In cooking and so many other activities, there is an order of doing things, and following instructions properly will yield the expected results. What a valuable lesson for children to learn when they are constantly asking why they have to do certain things! After those cookies come out of the oven, they will have something tangible to show them that it pays off to follow instructions.

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They will learn some math.

Understanding the difference between half a cup and 1 cup, between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, between more and less, is a school lesson in disguise. Math is useful after all!

They will learn safety.

I was so hesitant to have my kids near the stove or use knives. But, I want them to know that these things need to be used with care and attention. My blogger friend from This Pilgrim Life has some excellent posts about having kids in the kitchen. The one about teaching them knife skills is a favorite of mine.

They will learn how to serve others.

Food preparation is a good start in learning hospitality. Including them in the kitchen when you’re expecting some company for dinner or having them help you prepare a meal for another family who is in need will teach them a valuable lesson in serving others. Children (and adults) are naturally inclined to think of themselves first, sometimes to the neglect of other people. But, you can show your kids that cooking for someone else is a way to look out for the interests of others.

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They will learn how to be a part of the family.

Before they join any sports team or activity club, kids already have the opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork within their own family. Children need to realize that what they do as individuals will affect the rest of the family. By doing their share of the chores or helping with putting a meal on the table, they can see that they have a significant contribution in the running of the household.

What are other reasons for including your kids in kitchen activities?

 

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57 thoughts on “5 Benefits of Having Little Helpers in the Kitchen

  1. Great topic! My son is 12 and just started eating gluten free. Because of this he has learned to cook all of his own food and he LOVES it. My little chef!

    1. Thank you for your comment! This is one of those things my kids love to do with me. Cleaning the house, on the other hand, takes a bit more persuasion. 🙂

    1. Too funny, Jhanis! One of these days, though, they’ll steer clear of the kitchen when you want them to wash the dishes or something. Better take advantage now.

  2. Thanks for the shout out, friend!

    I certainly do love having kids in the kitchen! Another one of my favorite benefits is the conversations we have about our food– where it is from, how it grows, about seasonal eating, etc. Definitely lots of opportunities for learning.

    1. You’re very welcome! That’s a great benefit that you mentioned. I need to brush up on my knowledge of where our food comes from. All I keep telling them is “Pizza doesn’t grow in the ground.” 🙂

  3. I love it! I feel like I’ll be really sad when my baby isn’t a baby anymore, but hell, I’ll welcome some help in the kitchen! And taking out the trash, and vacuuming and laundry… I could go on and on here! Haha 😉

    1. I’m all too familiar with the over-controlling. 🙂 Having them in the kitchen kind forced me to face that dark side of me. Most of the time, their helping me with stuff that only our family will eat. If we are serving it with others, I’ll have only the older kids help. Don’t need any accidental sneezing in that casserole that should be going to a neighbor.

  4. My toddler loves to “help” me cook. While at times it’s frustrating, I am trying very hard to embrace her enthusiasm:) thank you for reminding us of the positives of kids in the kitchen!

  5. My daughter loves to help in the kitchen! She’s always dead set on doing it by herself. We just have her pouring and stirring at this point because she’s three. And she has her very own adorable little apron! Love this post-I couldn’t agree with you more!

    1. Having their own apron really tops it for them! My daughter would use one of mine, but it was clearly too big for her. When I finally bought one that fit her, she suddenly because this serious little chef.

  6. This is so essential! My son is just getting to the age where he can reach the stove and spend time helping me. I am counting down the days until he (and the other kids) can take more of a role in the kitchen!

  7. This is a great post! I need to include my girls in cooking more. They’re always interested, but often I’m in a hurry and don’t want to take extra time. Thanks for linking up to Motivational Monday!

    1. That’s my problem too … when I’m in a hurry. So, I try to plan another time to cook with them, usually an after-dinner cookie making session.

  8. Great points! I would also add that it teaches our children a greater appreciation for food and where it comes from. I’ve heard that children who help in the kitchen are generally less picky about their food too!

    Thanks for linking up with the #SHINEbloghop!

  9. Stopping by after seeing this post on Shine Blog Hop. My 4 year old really enjoys helping me cook and bake and I’m excited to think that one day this will serve her well. Like you I was not really into cooking when I was younger and did not spend alot of time in the kitchen with Mom. It wasn’t until my late teens that I started to have an interest.

    1. Yeah, even though we may not have a lot of memories working in the kitchen as kids, we can create new memories with our kids. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Involving the children in the kitchen allows them to experience being responsible for other members of the family. It is also a great way for moms to bond with their children.

  11. You can also ask your children to go with you when you buy groceries or you go to the market. Every time you pick up something like meat or fish or vegetables you tell your daughter or your son how you choose one from the other. My mother do this to me when I was 12. Later when she asked me to go the market by myself, I tried to remember all the insights she shared to me at that time when we both go. I ended up buying all the stuff she wanted me to bring at home. Sort of bonding mother – daughter moment and learning moment as well. This is nice. I remember and miss my mom actually.

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