Family mealtime can be a blessing or a curse. While it’s a great opportunity to spend time with your family, it can be a hassle to cook after a long day. That’s why having the whole family join in the process is the perfect solution.
Whether you decide to tackle the family recipe that’s been passed down for generations or try something new you found online, here are some ways cooking together can strengthen your family ties.
Allows You to Spend More Time Together
Only about 30% of households regularly eat dinner together in the United States. With several studies proving the benefits of family dinners on child development, this is not nearly enough.
Cooking together can teach young children small muscle skills and early math and science learning, and encourage families to share a meal more often. It can also spark storytelling, creativity, a break from technology, and getting to know one another on a deeper level.
Creates Healthier Mealtimes
Preparing home cooked meals allows you to eat healthier than you would while eating out. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that between 2015 and 2018, 36.3% of young children and adolescents ate fast food on any given day.
When you cook at home, you have more control over the ingredients and quantities that go into your food – for example, using fewer oils and preservatives.
Your children may be more excited to try new foods, as well. They’ll take pride in preparing a meal with you and could be more open to eating the vegetables they make themselves.
Instead of store-bought or takeout french fries, try making healthier baked french fry wedges in your own kitchen. You can take care of slicing the potatoes and popping the tray in the oven while your kids can be responsible for seasoning them.
Improves Couple Relationships
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average employee works 7.6 hours every day. Even more daunting, studies indicate that people spend 90,000 hours working throughout their lifetimes.
Most people have other responsibilities they have to tend to in addition to work, such as childcare, appointments, and errands. It’s easy for relationships to grow stagnant and strained when so much time is spent apart.
Cooking with your partner is a great way to improve your bond and spend quality time together. It may also allow you to open up more easily, share what’s happening in each other’s lives, and offer support.
Like any sport, cooking with your children teaches them to develop new collaboration and communication skills. More importantly, teamwork in the kitchen will help build their self-confidence and self-worth.
If you feel under pressure to pass along restaurant-style cooking skills to your kids, don’t fret. You don’t have to be savvy with a food processor or knife set to play along.
Start easy and make delicious homemade pizzas layered with all your favorite toppings. This is an excellent opportunity for your family to get creative. Plus, it’’l allow you to avoid takeout if your kids are constantly begging for a pizza night.
When it’s spaghetti night, your kids can make baked turkey meatballs with you. They’ll have a blast rolling them into a ball.
The CDC states that adolescents are 66% less likely to exhibit risky health behaviors when they’re more connected at home and school. Nevertheless, parents often have difficulty talking to their teens about sexual health, drug abuse, and mental health – critical things they may face daily.
Spending time cooking together could potentially open the door for better communication between parents and their children. Past studies have shown that cooking has positive psychological benefits during increasingly stressful times.
Relax and bond with your teen while baking a sour cream pound cake that you can top with fresh fruit and cool whip.
Cooking Together Is Fun for the Family
Cooking a meal together as a family is rewarding and fun. It can spark lifelong memories and moments of laughter between you, your spouse, and your children. Take advantage of that special time when you can talk and reconnect with your loved ones. It can be just as important as actually sitting down to share a meal at the end of the day.