A timeless family-friendly kitchen design can support family connection. In this post, we want to focus specifically on kids in the kitchen. Let’s explore how you can encourage your kids to be in the kitchen—and why you should want to.
9 Benefits of Kids in the Kitchen
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of involving kids in cooking is that you have help and won’t have to do all the work yourself. But there are so many more reasons to cultivate kitchen confidence in your children! The advantages are life-changing and long-lasting.
Lay a foundation for a healthy lifestyle
When you include your children in the preparation of family meals, snacks, and packed lunches, they learn how to make healthy food choices. You can explain why you use fruits and vegetables and talk about a balanced diet. Teaching your children to cook at home gives them the skills necessary to avoid processed foods or resorting to a fast food diet.
Expand palate and reduce picky-eating
Children are more interested in trying new foods when they’ve been involved in the cooking. There’s a sense of pride that comes with preparing a meal. Explore new ingredients and talk about the textures, smells, and tastes as you cook so your kids become familiar with them.
Develop fine motor skills
Measuring, mixing, chopping, pouring, kneading, squeezing, spreading, and shaping ingredients are all highly physical activities that can improve coordination and help to develop your child’s fine motor skills. Young children can stir muffin batter or punch down yeast dough. Older kids can learn to slice vegetables or make pancakes.
Improve reading comprehension
Following a recipe is excellent practice for reading comprehension. Your children must understand and follow step-by-step instructions to produce an appetizing dish. Take the time to walk them through the meaning of cooking terms and show them how to do each task in a recipe.
Develop math skills
Cooking involves a lot of math. Children can develop mathematical skills by measuring ingredients, counting, reading a food scale, converting measurement units, and doubling or halving a recipe.
How can liquidy, colourless egg whites become magical meringue goodness? It’s science! The kitchen is the ideal laboratory for all kinds of exciting experiments. Cooking involves chemical reactions, colour changes, textures, predictions, observations, and more.
Cooking can be an art form. Allow your children to get creative in the kitchen by trying new recipes, creating their own dishes, constructing an attractive platter or charcuterie board, or decorating cakes and cookies.
Allowing your kids to learn skills in the kitchen and explore their creativity gives them confidence. They are empowered with a sense of accomplishment when they can serve the family something they made themselves.
Build quality family relationships
Of course, the quality time spent together as a family in the kitchen or around a meal is a priceless benefit of including your kids in meal preparation. The memories you make will last a lifetime, and the connections are invaluable.
Before You Start Your Kid-Friendly Kitchen Renovation
There are a few things to consider as you plan your kitchen renovation with kid-friendly features:
- The ages and stages of your kids
- The tasks you want your children to complete in the kitchen
- The size of your family and events or gatherings you host
- How many people are in the kitchen at once
- The types of meals you prepare in your kitchen
A family with 5 children will need more space than a family with 2 children. If you want young kids to use a microwave or get their own snacks, you’ll need to keep that in mind when placing your appliances and snack storage. A family that does a lot of baking and preparing food from scratch may have different needs than one that orders a lot of takeout or prefers more prepared foods.
5 Ideas for a Kid-Friendly Kitchen
Here are 5 practical ways to make your kitchen more kid-friendly.
1. Keep it comfortable
Your kitchen must be comfortable for your kids if you want them to spend time there. Seating is a big part of that, so a kitchen island with counter height bar stools is always a good idea. This can be a good spot for kids to do homework, or it can make it easier for small children to be at a comfortable level for participating in cooking tasks.
2. Create a family information center
A central spot to organize your weekly menu, gather recipes, hang an ongoing grocery list, display family photos or kids’ artwork, and collect mail or important papers is a simple way to keep your family informed and on track.
3. Simplify cleaning
A kid-friendly kitchen must be easy to clean. Your surfaces must stand up to spills and dropped items. Quartz countertops are low maintenance and durable, for example. Floors should be non-porous. Carpets in the kitchen are a no-no.
4. Make kid-friendly design adjustments
Consider designing your kitchen layout specifically with your kids in mind. Include things like:
- A handy step-stool
- A special drawer for your child’s own cooking supplies
- A pull-out countertop at a convenient height for smaller people
- A convection microwave your child can reach
- Touch-free faucets that are easier for kids to turn on and off
- Round-edged countertops
These child-accessible features are helpful, but also remember to incorporate safety features. For example, store fragile dishes or sharp knives in cabinets out of a young child’s reach.
5. Get strategic with storage
Kid-friendly kitchen storage is accessible, visible, and consistent. To accomplish this, you need to have sufficient storage for the items you regularly store, including the food you typically have on hand. Consider pull-out pantries so it’s easier for your children to see what’s on each shelf. Try floating shelves for more visibility, and designate specific drawers for food and dishes your kids can access on their own.
Get Your Kids Involved in the Kitchen
Toddlers can help with washing fruits and vegetables, or tear lettuce for salads. Kids between the ages of 5-7 can learn to measure ingredients, stir ingredients, grate cheese, cut soft ingredients like bananas, or set the table. Children ages 8-11 can read and follow recipes and act as your sous chef, peeling, chopping, and learning to use small appliances. Tweens and teens can become completely independent in the kitchen with practice.
Getting your kids involved in the kitchen requires attentiveness and diligence by the parents or guardians, but it’s much simpler when the kitchen is kid-friendly. Does your kitchen need a kid-friendly makeover? Contact Riverstone Kitchens & Renovations for a free consultation.