Helpful kids are better eaters

Helpful kids are better eaters

A recent study shows only one in three kids help around the home these days. What we know is household jobs are a great way for children to learn responsibility and develop life skills. In particular, helping with growing food, shopping, packing away and preparing meals all allow children become more familiar with food and eating. Kitchen jobs can be a good way to introduce new foods to children and make them more confident about their eating and food choices.

This also gives you a chance to talk about food, its taste, shape, how it has grown and what is in it. By talking and playing while doing food jobs, children learn new words, colours, shapes and sizes as well as numbers through counting and measuring. Turning jobs into play is a good way to spend time with your children and get household tasks done at the same time – even if it’s a little slower. Of course, you need to recognise your child’s skills and be realistic about what they can do safely, particularly when using sharp knives and cooking hot foods.

Here are some suggestions to get your children active in the kitchen:

Very young children

  • Washing vegetables and fruit
  • Stirring and mixing in a bowl – room temperature
  • Sprinkling cheese on a pizza.

Kinder age

  • Chopping soft fruit and vegetables with a safe knife
  • Spreading
  • Helping unpack food shopping
  • Cracking eggs
  • Counting out ingredients
  • Taking dishes to be washed.

School age

  • Shaping meat or lentil patties
  • Grating (with supervision)
  • Using a sharper knife (with supervision)
  • Helping clean up and wash dishes or load/unpack dishwasher
  • Reading recipes
  • Measuring and weighing ingredients
  • Helping with food shopping and packing away.

Working with your little helpers does take time and they’ll make a few mistakes along the way but you’ll be ever thankful when they cook dinner and eat it with you. Watch this video on how to get kids involved from Family Food Patch.