Preparing a meal with your children is a good way of spending more time with them by doing something other than the usual activities (games, sports, play dough…). Your children will love it. Everyone knows they like to act like the grown-ups do, and you can even go shopping with them to help them feel more self-reliant, an activity that is both useful and enjoyable.
It is a good idea to adapt the recipes you make to the age of the children, to avoid anything too complicated and ensure that it does not turn into a disaster. Be careful though; the aim is to encourage them, not to force them.
What are the benefits of cooking with your children?
First of all, it’s a fun way to spend time with your toddlers in wet weather. It allows you to develop their curiosity and help them to discover the rich variety of French cuisine (typical dishes, forgotten vegetables…).
If you don’t cook, this may be a good opportunity for you to get started. It has also been proved that children who are accustomed to cooking when they are small take more time to do so once they become adults. They then follow the same pattern with their children who will do it, too, with theirs and so on.
It’s a great way to have fun and enjoy yourselves. It is a way for children to develop their critical senses, they think about food and gain a better understanding of the concept of dietary balance between different types of food. They become more sensitive to the aromas of food, and to the tastes of the dishes that they may be going to eat. You also give them the pleasure of eating well and sharing a convivial meal.
This creates a new bond with your children and offers you an interest you can share. You can watch cookery programs, buy books and create recipes together… So it becomes much more than just a special moment with the family, it’s a real time for sharing and interacting. Learning to cook at an early age helps children become self-reliant and take responsibility. In other words, it makes them grow.
There are many tools to help you in cooking with your children
If you’re not sure how to get started, you can rely on the various media, that’s what they are there for. There are lots of cookery books specially written for children such as “Petit Chef Panda Paris” that you can download from the website or buy in bookshops.
Perhaps you have family recipes you can share with your little ones. You can learn by watching TV shows and trying to reproduce the recipes. You could also take this as an opportunity to create a family recipe book in which you combine and keep track of all your favourite recipes.
A few little tips
•It’s better to show and explain to your children before having them do something, even if it seems simple.
•Above all, don’t set the bar too high, your dish may not be perfect, but the main thing is that it is made with the heart.
•Be careful, because cooking can be a real danger for your toddlers because they do not necessarily realise the risk, which is why you should never leave them alone.
• Don’t panic, this activity can make quite a mess in the kitchen, but that shouldn’t stop you.
•Don’t set a minimum time, it will only stress you, and the goal is to have a good time.
•One last little tip? Have fun and enjoy it, because that is what this activity is all about.
Off you go! Get your aprons on!