Des Moines, IA

Teaching Your Kids to Cook

A skill that is often overlooked and seems to be on the way out the back door, cooking is a vital part to staying healthy. The growth of fast food restaurants, take out, and delivery has made home-cooked meals a thing of the past. While convenient, fast food comes with poor diet choices and unhealthy eating.

Teaching your child to cook will give them a life-long skill that will not only build self-confidence, but also build independence. Plus, it will be really convenient for you when they start complaining about being hungry as they’ll be capable of making food themselves!

Before we help guide you through teaching your child how to cook, let’s look at some of the other benefits of cooking with your children:

  • They are more open to tasting different foods and eating new foods.
  • They learn more about healthy foods and ingredients.
  • It gives them self-confidence to know they can do something that you can. The old “I can” attitude we’re always trying to instill in our children.
  • It’s a great opportunity for all cooks to talk – about life, food, and school. It’s time to bond, building a better relationship with your children.
  • Helps with math skills. Measuring, doubling a recipe, etc. will help them with fractions and math.
  • It teaches them about science – boiling points, too much of an ingredient, etc. are all science-based teaching points.
  • It increases comprehension. Depending on the type of cooking, it teaches children to read a recipe and follow specific directions in a specific order. They need to also pay attention to details and time, so we can throw time management in as well!

Mom and daughters cooking in kitchenWith all of these benefits, why don’t we cook with our children more often? The answer is simple: Because kids are messy and don’t have any patience.

And in all honesty, our patience as parents is probably even more scarce because we’re on a schedule for getting dinner on the table and people fed before activities.

This shouldn’t stop us from teaching this important life skill. So to make it easier (and more fun) we’ve put together a list of simple tips to teach your child to cook:

1. Start simple. For younger kids, let them stir, add pre-measured ingredients into the bowl, or pour batter into the tin or baking dish. For older kids, they can start by peeling vegetables or dicing some foods depending on their fine motor skills.

2. Keep calm. Kids read our emotions on our face and hear it in our tone of voice. Keep calm. Yes, there are many dangerous items in the kitchen from boiling pots and sharp knives, but keep calm when telling them about these dangers and explain why they have to be careful while still letting them help around these objects.

3. Let them pick. Give them some simple recipes that don’t have a lot of ingredients to start with and work with them on. Spaghetti, cookies, even simple snacks like protein balls are easy to begin with. Let them pick which one sounds good to them.

4. Plan for extra time. Kids get distracted and may need to measure more than once. When planning time for them to help in the kitchen, make sure it’s during a time that you don’t have to rush anyone, which will only be more stressful and less fun. Make it a fun family activity on a slow weekend.

5. Take them to the store. Don’t let all the fun be kept in the kitchen. Involve your kids in the meal planning and talk to them why it’s important. Write out your list and bring them to the grocery store to help pick out the right tomatoes, fruits and sides!

Farrells Martial Arts Kicker LogoTKD Tip: Get the whole family involved. Everyone needs to eat so everyone can help with something. Whether prepping the food, setting the table, actual cooking, or clearing plates, involve every family member. Let the kids switch responsibilities each week and use the time to talk about their day.

The most important thing you need to remember is to have fun and make the most of all growing opportunities with your children. Having fun and learning is what makes kids the happiest!


Location Info

Beaverdale School         Waukee School
2706 Beaver Ave.            215 N. Warrior Lane
Des Moines, IA 50310       Waukee, IA 50263
515-255-0095                  515-978-3000