3 Ways Cooking Can Help You Bond With Your Kids

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to share and pass down traditions to younger generations. Odds are if you grew up celebrating the holiday with family or friends, you’ve experienced a great number of them!

For many of us, a lot of these traditions show up during Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe your family has a coveted scalloped potatoes recipe or always ends the evening with a dessert flambé. Maybe your mom has a special way of preparing some dishes ahead of time or you’ve found a way to integrate bacon into everything on the table.

Whatever the tradition, I urge you to take the time this year to wrap younger family members into the joy that is cooking Thanksgiving dinner! Invite them into the kitchen with you and take the time to show them all the little tricks you hold so dear.

Here are five ways that cooking can help you bond with your kids this Thanksgiving.


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1) Introduce your children – young or old – to recipes that are treasured in the family.

Particularly if your children are grown, Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to pass the baton on some key family dishes. Slowly start to share, more and more, the duties of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe you can even take the time to handwrite family recipes for your children’s personal recipe boxes.

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2) Let the kitchen be an open door to quality conversations.

Some of the best conversations I’ve had with my mother and grandmother have been in the kitchen. It’s a neutral atmosphere where chatter flows naturally. On Thanksgiving morning, don’t isolate yourself in the kitchen, but invite your children (or nieces and nephews) to share the space with you! Divvy up the task of chopping vegetables, or just share some coffee. It’ll be a real treat.

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3) If you have younger kids or grandkids around, use cooking Thanksgiving dinner as a teaching opportunity.

Few experiences are better for teaching mathematical principles like measurements and ratios than cooking. If you have grandchildren or young children with you during Thanksgiving, see if they would be interested in helping you measure out ingredients. Or teach them the principles of doubling or halving recipes. Have fun with it!

How have you found cooking to be a bonding experience with your children? Do you have any special memories of late night baking or whipping up a special treat? Share them with us! We love your stories.

49 comments

Jim V
Jim Ven11 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Magdalen B.
Magdalen Babout a year ago

. Yes. This is important. I'm glad to see photos where children involved in cooking are not covered in chocolate and/ or flour with "cute" i.e. nauseating little dabs of it on their noses.

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Muff-Anne York-Haley
Muff-Anne Yabout a year ago

Great idea but can be hard to execute!

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Dennis Hall
Dennis Hallabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Elaine W.
Elaine Wabout a year ago

Encouraging rather than critical will boost the self image of kids and make happy memories.

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Tania N.
Tania Nabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Janis K.
Janis Kabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Debra Van Way
Debra Van Wayabout a year ago

My Mom and Dad gave me a Junior Cookbook on my 8th birthday. My Gran and my Mom were both awesome cooks so I wanted to be an awesome cook just like them. Mom would keep an eye on me while I was making a recipe so she could help me with any questions I might have but let me do the actual making all by myself. I still make everything from scratch and think of the two of them when I do. Both have passed and I miss them dearly, but thanks to them everything I make brings back the happy memories of cooking and baking in Mom's tiny little kitchen over and over.

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Debbi -.
Debbi -about a year ago

When grow-up spending time in the kitchen with you they learn to cook and it's fun for both of you. That's how I learned to cook and how our sons leaned to cook from their dad and from me. It is also how our grandchildren learned to cook, too.

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