Making Dinner a Family Affair

For Christmas, my daughter received a cookbook. It was something she’d begged for, and so her Aunt Fishie ordered one on Amazon a couple days before the big holiday. It was kind of hilarious how thrilled my kid was when she opened it. For the next week, I watched her cook and bake with her cousin and grandma. And upon our return home, both my children have been “play acting” at baking with kinetic sand for several hours a day.

More and more I’m realizing that it’s not just dinner that should be family affair—it’s the dinner prep that’s just as important.

  • It exercises mathematics. All the weighing and measuring makes a child have to think about things like fractions, portions, and the order of how to place things in the pot.
  • It drills reading skills. For my youngest who still needs to build confidence in reading, it helps him that the recipes are short, sweet and to the point. He loves reading the list of things to do in the correct order!
  • It encourages healthy eating. Kids are way more invested in food (especially vegetables) when they’ve had a hand in preparing them!
  • It breeds independence. When they feel more confident in the kitchen, kids are not only good helpers but it gets us all one day closer to that “dream day” when they can cook dinner for ALL of us! Imagine sitting next to the fire, reading a book, while your independent child handles the meal. I mean, that thought alone makes me practically pass out from happiness.
  • It builds relationships. Think about it. How many conversations have you had while cooking? Baking? Why do we design our kitchens as big, open spaces? Why do we strategically place our kitchen islands in the middle of the room so that we can face out while we’re chopping, basting, and measuring? It’s because we don’t want to do it alone.

When I really sit down to think of it, some of my best quality family time has been the kitchen. Cooking really is a family affair.




About Maia Rodriguez

"Military Mom" Maia Rodriguez was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but that was about twenty homes ago. After graduating from Syracuse University with a BFA in Musical Theater, she traveled just about everywhere in the country, lived in a green turtle-like tent for 6 months, toured and slept in the back of her van and even worked in Japan for a year. Then she met her husband who tamed her (ha!) and they embarked together on the adventure of parenthood in southern California where she worked as a professional pirate. Now, two children later, the family currently resides in VIrginia, where she sings for the US Navy as a vocalist. When she’s not mothering, she’s writing music for "Evernight," singing and writing for the Baby Bullet Blog.

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