Families that want to spend more time together can find a fun way to do just that by working together on something they already do each day. Cooking meals together as a family can add some fun to a task that’s already a part of many families’ daily routines.
Children can learn quite a bit from cooking, as preparing recipes can reinforce school lessons. Family cooking nights also pose a great opportunity to create lasting memories. Various sources indicate that children are more likely to remember experiences from their youth rather than the presents they receive. Some of those cherished experiences can be enjoyed in the kitchen alongside mom and dad.
In addition to creating lasting, fun memories, cooking together as a family may make children less likely to complain about foods since they have lent a hand in their creation. Furthermore, cooking together fosters a special feeling of unity and may establish a no-pressure, safe space for conversation.
With so many benefits, families may be wondering how they can foster and improve time spent together in the kitchen. Here are some ways to do so.
Organize age-appropriate tasks
Little hands can only handle so much. A toddler can pour and stir ingredients, while an older child or teenager may be be ready to chop ingredients or sauté at the stove.
Expect some mess
Parents and other adults should go into any meal creation process with children expecting things to get a tad messy. It may be possible to minimize messes by setting up workstations covered by plastic tablecloths, which can be folded up and shaken into the trash. Encourage children to sit down so they don’t inadvertently spread any messes to another part of the house.
Begin with simple recipes
An initial foray into family cooking should involve a recipe that’s easy to prepare and perhaps doesn’t require too many ingredients. Build on each success after that, growing bolder with each subsequent recipe.
Make it a multi-generational experience
For many families, Sunday was the opportunity to gather at grandma’s house after religious worship or to check in and spend time together. Rekindle this tradition by hosting weekly or monthly family meals where everyone gets to take part in bringing the meal to the table.
This is an ideal opportunity for grandparents to pass down family recipes and regale grandchildren with funny stories and memories.
Plan for things to take a little extra time
Preparation time is likely to take a bit longer when multiple hands are stirring the pot. Families can slow down and employ some patience. Adults should resist the urge to take over when children may not be doing things the right way. If meals need to be on the table at certain times, start an hour or two earlier than you otherwise would to account for some confusion and even a potential restart.
The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it can be dangerous to be around knives and other cooking utensils and instruments. Distractions like televisions or phones can draw attention away and potentially lead to injuries from pots boiling over or children getting too close to hot flames.
Cooking as a family is very beneficial and can be made even more so with some handy tips.