Teaching Kids to Cook: Spending Quality Time while Teaching Life Skills

Teaching Kids to Cook Spending Quality Time while Teaching Life SkillsI’m a big believer in teaching life skills to kids. I think too many moms do too much for their kids, which ultimately does them a disservice. When they move out they don’t know how to fend for themselves, but they also grow up feeling a little entitled, since little is expected of them.

When Jillian St. Clair asked if she could sponsor this post to share about her new resource, My Very Own Cookbook, I agreed, because cooking alongside my girls has been one of my most fun memories of their childhood!

I grew up with three sisters and a brother. The kitchen in our home was not very big, so not surprisingly we were not allowed to do much in it. When I got married I was not confident with my cooking skills even though I majored in Home Economics in high school.

My mother, aunt and grandmother cooked many delicious meals that I don’t know how to prepare. I don’t want the next generation to follow in my footsteps, so I’ve created My Very Own Cookbook for parents to share time with their children teaching them how to cook. It’s also a wonderful record of time shared with loving relatives who will help them become capable, self-confident adults.

There are many “grown-ups” who have no experience in preparing nutritious, healthy meals for themselves or their families.

Together, parents and young children can create memories of learning useful, cooking and management skills. Perhaps you were given many gifts/presents as a child but lack the training and confidence to care for a home, keep up with the laundry, and prepare delicious, healthy dishes or even how to set a table.

If You Didn’t Learn These Skills, It’s Not Your Fault!

None of these skills come naturally to any of us. We must count on others to help us learn them and this learning can begin as early as 4-years old.  My grandchildren are 10, 8 and 4. When we’ve enjoyed family vacations, we’ve prepared recipes together. Sadly, many children don’t get to spend much time with their parents. This is something they especially crave when they are young. Time passes quickly; if we’re not careful, we may miss the chance to make an important impact in our children’s lives.

When we don’t cook from scratch, too, we tend to eat out more. Not only is that far less nutritious and far more expensive, but it also means that you lose the potential to really bond as a family the way families used to do around the dining room table.

Beware of Technology Undermining the Dinner Hour

Often when we’ve eaten in a fast food restaurant I see parents texting instead of sharing conversations with their children. My concern is that this pattern will go too far and when these children are pre-teens or teenagers, they will no longer want to spend much time talking with or listening to their parents. Cooking and eating together creates opportunities to share important daily events in our lives. Studies show children who share meals with their parents make better decisions and earn higher grades.

As parents, it’s our responsibility to expose our kids to everything we can that will help them succeed in all aspects of their lives. Good manners, respect for others, kindness, acceptance and patience are learned behaviors. Who else is best to teach these than the parents who love them?  Setting up this kind of relationship early will benefit both the children and their parents. Knowing your children can care for themselves is a huge blessing!

The Best Gift of All from Teaching Kids to Cook: Quality Time With Your Kids

Research shows that working parents spend only 19 minutes a day of quality time caring for their kids. Perhaps you have heard this scripture verse before:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.

The Food Network has featured many young children taking an interest in preparing recipes and even full meals. This early training will be very valuable to them as they mature into adulthood.

My daughters were 7 and 10 when I became a single mom. I was a stay at home mom until that time and when going back to work, the girls pitched in and helped take care of the laundry, their rooms and the home we lived in. Today, they have careers and homes of their own. Thankfully, they spend a great deal more than 19 minutes a day with their children.

As parents, we can help our children become adults by teaching them many things they’ll need to know so they can care for themselves when they leave home. Most parents with grown children remember and cherish the special times they’ve spent with their children. Teaching children how to be independent and self-sufficient is a precious gift.

My Very Own Cookbook is a blank recipe journal encouraging children to share time with their parents and other loved ones. Filling in the details of a recipe being prepared with help from loved ones will be a cherished gift and record of special times spent together with loved ones and a timeless record for their future children to enjoy.

Want to start teaching your children to cook? Download Jillian’s FREE ebook: 15 Recipes You Can Make with Your Kids–and get started today!


  1. What a great post! I used to cook with the 3 year-old girls I nannied for—now I can’t wait until my baby is old enough to cook with me. So many audits don’t even know where their food comes from and how it is made. Cooking is so fun for kids and gives them this knowledge early on! Thanks for the reinforcement!
    Heather recently posted…a decade togetherMy Profile

  2. This is one of the reasons I love home schooling my kids.
    There is lots of time in the day to teach them to cook, to bake, to be self-sufficient. The goal, after all, is that one day they will move out and not starve, and not be bringing home their laundry to me!!

  3. I LOVE this and completely agree. I’d posted about it on my old blog b/c I feel so strongly about it as well. Bonus? My daughter is not nearly as picky of an eater when she gets to be in on the action, washing, stirring, pouring.. She’ll taste it if she helps make it!
    Georgia recently posted…Quick & Easy Sausage GumboMy Profile

  4. Amen. Spring break next week, and each of my boys is responsible for dinner one night. They’re excited about it!
    Julie recently posted…Grasshopper DaysMy Profile

  5. Great post!! Working in the kitchen with me was one of my daughter’s favorite ways of spending time together :-)
    A really important skill that is sadly being overlooked in our mobile and drive-thru way of life…
    Pat Fenner recently posted…You’re Never AloneMy Profile

  6. I homeschool also. I love teaching my children to cook. Even two year olds can mix and dump pre measured ingredients. I even let ones this young crack eggs(as long as I have extras:)) that is every ones favorite job. my two oldest 9 & 11 frequently. cook breakfast by themselves. my nine year old makes french bread all by herself. she does it so often she doesn’t even need the cook book anymore to do it. she always makes two loaves so she can share one with neighbors family or family friends. I used to be the family bread maker for get togethers like Easter Thanksgiving and Christmas. My nine year old has mostly taken over this job. It makes me proud Most adults I know can’t. make bread My mother cooked with me and by the time I turned thirteen both me and my brother had one night a week we were responsible for dinner. Both my older children also do their own laundry. My six year old helps fold hers and of course puts it away. My baby youngest is three he can put his laundry away. And he loves to stand in a chair at the table or counter and help in the kitchen If I don’t have anything. for one this young to do I often invent a job. They want to help this young and if you send them away to often they stop asking. I love to cook. My husband really appreciates. this most of our friends don’t. eat home prepared from scratch meals. I can’t imagine how much more true this will be when my children grow up and get married.

  7. Thanks for a great idea! I’ve been cooking with my 6 yo granddaughter since she was old enough to stand on a stool and stir scrambled eggs. Now that she can read the recipes, this is a great next step. Together, we’ll record what we cook and the dinner menus she likes, covered with page protectors for durabiity. I’m also going to make a section for the games we play during dinner (“I’m going on a trip and I’m going to take an apple, a banana, a cookie…,” I Spy, etc.). In a few years, she’ll have a complete repertoire to take with her into teens and adulthood, complete with happy memories.

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