Benefits of Cooking with Your Children

Cooking with your children ensures that you lay the foundations for good nutrition and solid self-esteem. Learn more about the benefits!
Benefits of Cooking with Your Children
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 21 April, 2023

Do you remember when you were a child? Perhaps, during your childhood, the kitchen was an off-limits place for you. However, there’s growing evidence of how beneficial it is to include children in culinary tasks. Therefore, today we want to talk to you about the benefits of cooking with your children.

Before, the kitchen was an adult territory that you could only access to get your food, but never to prepare it. And the presence of minors in this space seemed dangerous for them and it was thought that letting them in would only get in the way of the cooking process. However, this is one of the most complete activities, as it nurtures the physical, psychological, and emotional development of children.

Involving your children in the preparation of recipes will strengthen your bond, improve their attitude toward food, and allow them to develop various skills and abilities. Keep reading to find out more.

Discover the benefits of cooking with your children

Both children and adults eat between 3 and 5 meals a day, as food is the energy our bodies need to function. For the same reason, it seems natural to involve little ones in its preparation and elaboration. But, if you still have doubts about it, these are some of the benefits of cooking with your children that will change your mind.

Improve their relationship with food

Eating disorders are increasingly present, and their incidence in the pediatric population is growing. For the same reason, it’s essential to help children develop a good relationship with food from the beginning. For this, one of the best alternatives is to allow them to be in contact with food from an early age and to experiment with its textures, smells, and flavors by handling it freely.

Cooking with children is a fantastic activity. According to a systematic review published in Preventing Chronic Disease, cooking offers several benefits to children. Specifically, it improves their attitudes and behaviors toward food and makes them more likely to try new products and more likely to choose and consume fruits and vegetables. This is key to establishing healthy habits and preventing obesity and other diseases.

A father and his young daughter washing vegetables in the kitchen sink.
By allowing your children to wash vegetables, crack eggs, or stir ingredients into a mixture, you give them the opportunity to excel and see their skills improve.

Boost their self-efficacy and confidence

As parents, we want children to have good self-esteem, but we don’t always know how to boost it. Well, cooking with our children is an excellent way to achieve this. This activity allows them to test themselves and overcome different challenges according to their abilities.

Self-confidence isn’t only developed through words of encouragement, but by proving that we’re capable of tackling tasks and successfully completing them. It’s true that you’d finish preparing a meal sooner if you did it on your own. However, by allowing children to try, fail, and improve, you offer them valuable opportunities to learn perseverance and self-confidence.

Moreover, that perceived self-efficacy won’t be limited to food preparation alone, but can also be extrapolated into different challenges that will arise in their lives.

Strengthens family bonds

Especially when they’re young, children demand a lot of attention and want to be constantly entertained by their adults of reference. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean playing with them. In fact, everyday activities are extremely interesting and engaging for them.

Cooking with your children creates a space to talk about everyday life, increase emotional intimacy and practice different social skills. In this communication, they learn to negotiate, reason, follow instructions, expose their opinions, and listen to the criteria of others. All this in a playful and safe environment.

A mother and daughter baking together.
We must help children to improve their cooking skills and, at the same time, encourage creativity and allow them to innovate and prepare different dishes.

Promotes diverse learning

Finally, remember that the kitchen is a center of very diverse learning. On the one hand, it offers a wide variety of sensory stimuli with which to experiment. On the other hand, it’s ideal for improving fine and gross psychomotor skills and increasing control over body movements.

It’s also a good place to learn vocabulary by naming foods, utensils, and the actions that are performed when cooking. And, in the same way, it allows children to learn more about nature, the cultivation of food, and what happens when combining different ingredients.

Cooking with our children is a very complete and fun task

As you can see, cooking with children offers endless educational possibilities. Both the very act of preparing food and the conversations that can arise from this activity are ideal for teaching little ones about various topics. For example, about nature, mathematics, language, nutrition, and motor skills.

Cooking with our children ensures that we lay the foundations for good nutrition and a solid self-esteem. Also, to be able to forge closer ties with them. Therefore, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy all its benefits.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cunningham-Sabo, L., & Lohse, B. (2013). Cooking with Kids positively affects fourth graders’ vegetable preferences and attitudes and self-efficacy for food and cooking. Childhood Obesity9(6), 549-556.
  • Dueñas Disotuar, Y., Murray Hurtado, M., Rubio Morell, B., Murjani Bharwani, H. S., & Jiménez Sosa, A. (2015). Trastornos de la conducta alimentaria en la edad pediátrica: una patología en auge. Nutrición Hospitalaria32(5), 2091-2097.
  • Hersch, D., Perdue, L., Ambroz, T., & Boucher, J. L. (2014). The impact of cooking classes on food-related preferences, attitudes, and behaviors of school-aged children: a systematic review of the evidence, 2003–2014. Preventing chronic disease11.
  • Prádanos Nieto, A. (2015). La cocina como recurso didáctico en educación infantil. [Trabajo Final de Grado, Universidad de Valladolid].

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.