As our kids were growing up, on most Saturday mornings I would make homemade pancakes. But part of what made this weekly tradition really fun was that they would often help me. Now that they’re older, I may not cook pancakes every Saturday, but I still find opportunities to spend time together with my kids in the kitchen.
- Just recently we started using one of those home delivery services, Blue Apron, that provides all the ingredients for a good meal. So, I’ve taken the opportunity to cook with one of my kids when he was home visiting.
- For a special daddy-daughter time, I recently went to a cooking class with one of my older daughters to cook a meal together, then eat it (a place called Sur La Table).
- My son wanted to learn how to grill ribs, steaks and the like before he left for college, and we did it…together.
Research shows that having at least a few meals together as a family every week makes a family stronger. Meals improve communication, awareness of what’s happening in each other’s lives, and memory making. But there are also benefits to spending time together in creating those meals. Instead of going it alone, here are six benefits found in cooking together with your kids on a regular basis:
Recipes are object lessons.
To get something to come out right in the kitchen, recipes become necessary guides. Sure, Great-Aunt Sadie may have been able to whip up her magical marinara without a recipe, but she was guided by years of experience in the kitchen and followed that “experience recipe” de facto in her head. When you cook and you disregard the recipe, you do so at risk of a ruined meal. Recipes are a great way to show that consequences, good and bad, are found in the whether or not you follow the instructions.
Teamwork around the house.
Getting the kids involved helps them to feel more invested in the meals, and in the home in general. A sense of accomplishment is felt when there are more than just mom or dad to thank for pulling it together. Just watch as your child beams with pride when they are acknowledged for being a part of the cooking process.
Putting patience in practice.
If you ever prayed for patience, then felt frustrated when you had a need to use it, you might have been cooking with some kids. They need to learn patience to wait for the food to be ready at key points in preparation, and you need patience with their less experienced hands. Cooking with your kids is a laboratory for building patience.
Making memories for a lifetime.
Some of the fun, yummy and crazy things you’ll experience together in the kitchen will stick with your kids for life. [Tweet This] They may or may not remember the “big” things you did together, but I guarantee you the smells of food they used to cook with you will take them back, someday, to these days now when you spend time together in the kitchen.
Helping their future spouse and families.
Cultivating their kitchen skills today will help your future son-in-law or daughter-in-law, and grandchildren, enjoy a more talented and capable kitchen helper in the future. Cooking together is an equal opportunity training ground for all!
The bottom line is that time together is valuable with your kids no matter how you spend it. This can be just one more tool in the toolbox of how you know them, love them, teach them, learn with them, and show them you appreciate and respect them as a member of the family. Use time in the kitchen wisely with them, and they will know you love them in a myriad of ways.
How else have you seen time together cooking with your parents or children be a big blessing? Share your thoughts and stories below!