July 18, 2018
Written by YMCA of Greater Waukesha County staff
If yours is a home where an adult typically handles the food planning, preparation, and cleanup, it’s time to get the kids involved. It may require a little extra time and patience, but getting kids in the kitchen has lots of benefits:
- Improve nutrition. Kids are more inclined to try foods that they have prepared. Preparing healthy meals together provides an opportunity to introduce a variety of foods into your child’s diet. As they learn and become more excited about preparing their own meals, they may skip the less healthy prepared or processed options.
- Replace a less healthy activity. When kids are spending time cooking, they can’t be engaged in screen time. Kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV.
- Practice basic skills. Reading and following a recipe, measuring, counting, weighing and tracking time can help kids with basic math and reading skills. Kids can also gain social skills through working together and communicating in the kitchen.
- Boost confidence. Serving a meal or snack that was prepared by them provides kids with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of contribution to the family. Make sure to praise their efforts even if the end result didn’t turn out exactly as planned.
- Strengthen your relationship. Working together in the kitchen can strengthen family bonds. This time together provides opportunities for teamwork, communication, teaching and even sharing stories of family traditions. Sitting down together as a family to enjoy your prepared meal is a great time to share stories about the day and engage in conversation.
The YMCA of Greater Waukesha County offers a variety of specialty camps that teach kids how to prepare food and where their food comes from – Farm to Table, Down on the Farm, Y Chefs and Mini Chefs. Choose your own adventure at the YMCA’s Summer Day Camps.
Learn more about how United Way helps everyone in our community get and stay healthy.