The question my kids ask most often whenever I’m in the kitchen isn’t “What’s for dinner?” or “When are we eating?”
It’s, “Can I help?”
Many of us respond with the knee jerk “Not right now.”
But there are so many reasons for you to say yes to this question.
And here are ten of them:
It teaches your children independence and it’s empowering.
As a friend of mine says all the time, We are raising adults.
And if we want our kids to be able to take care of themselves, they need to know their way around a kitchen. The sooner your kids can use a knife and the stove safely, the sooner they are one step closer to being self-sufficient.
It dispels stereotypes.
It can be easy for many of us to ask girls to help in the kitchen and boys to help with, say, yard work. But if we are raising well rounded adults, then we are teaching our kids that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.
And so is a man’s.
It teaches them how much work goes into cooking.
Helping in the kitchen isn’t just about the glory work. Helping in the kitchen means planning, prepping, and cleaning up.
You need to practice to become good at anything.
You don’t become a strong reader by not reading. You don’t become a fast runner by never running. And you don’t become proficient and skilled in the kitchen by never doing anything in the kitchen.
There are plenty of ways kids, especially young kids can participate in the kitchen. They can crack eggs, scoop muffins, and stir pretty much anything.
It teaches YOU patience.
It can be painful to see the way your kids make cookies or pancakes or just about anything when they are first learning in the kitchen.
They can fling food into places you never imagined it could go.
It can make your heart race and prompt you to grab whatever they are doing while snapping, just let me do it.
You may see a mess.
Your kids see a masterpiece.
They become more adventurous eaters.
When you allow your kids to help out in the kitchen, they are much more likely to eat what they are making.
Wanna get your kid to try Brussels sprouts?
Let them prepare them.
They may not love them, but they’ll at least take a bite.
It reminds us that our kids are more capable than we think.
I remember reading The Glass Castle (a memoir) and Jeanette Walls was recounting a time she was making macaroni and cheese and boiling a pot of water when she was a kid.
She was three years old.
I’m not saying you should encourage your three year old to be boiling water on the stove, but we so often underestimate what our kids can handle.
When you supervise your children in the kitchen and give them lots of opportunities, they surprise you.
And then you can have a six-year-old on pancake-flipping duty while you take care of something else in the kitchen.
It eases your burden and teaches your kids responsibility.
When you allow your kids to help out in the kitchen, you take away their ability to say things like, I can’t do it and I don’t know how.
And when your kid is adept at flipping pancakes and being around a hot stove, then they sure as heck can make themselves a sandwich and pack their own lunch.
And then you are one step closer to raising and adult.
It teaches your kids about food safety.
There is a lot to be learned in the kitchen! Allowing your kids to help teaches them the rules and the dos and don’ts.
It’s good for their health.
When you help in the kitchen and learn how to cook, you learn about food and you are less likely to rely on fast food and processed food.
They are more likely to help in other areas.
You can’t expect your kids to want to help out around the house if you shoot them down when they do offer to help.
When your kids offer you help, take it!
And before you know it, you’ll have a master cupcake decorator who also knows how to load the dishwasher to help you out whenever the next birthday in your house rolls around.
Your kids become more adventurous eaters.
It reminds you that your kids are more capable than you often realize.
It teaches them life skills.
It takes some of the load off you. — not just physically, but emotionally.
This doesn’t mean that if you really enjoy cooking for your family and feeding them that you won’t still be able to do that.