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happy family funny kids are preparing the dough, bake cookies in the kitchen

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Mothering in the age of COVID has been interesting, to say the least. In addition to learning to juggle work-from-home parenting with remote learning, parents are intermittently plagued by spells of guilt and to make up for it, we’re constantly looking for fun ways to meaningfully engage our kids while also keeping them safe and minimizing screentime.

Baketivity is a subscription box for kids that provides families will fun-filled experiences in the kitchen through baking. My 20-month-old daughter and I recently had the opportunity to experience Baketivity for ourselves while attending a virtual baking class hosted by the brand. While I’ll admit that baking with a toddler was stressful at first and quite messy, once I stepped back and released control a little bit, it was a very positive experience and one that I intend to start implementing regularly. During the event, we were able to hear from child psychologists Dr. Jesi Sesaki and Dr. Shannon McHugh, founders of Learn & Burn, about the social-emotional benefits of baking with kids.

Baking helps communication between parents and kids

“It’s engaging and something you can do with your hands while making memories,” said Dr, McHugh. “We love the idea of doing something with your kids to help them have a non-intimidating place to talk to you. In our practice, we teach people that when you can do things and move their bodies and are collaborating, then a lot of times they learn more about each other.”

Baking teaches independence

“Kids like to be independent and have their own thing going. This is a great way to help them feel that they are a part of something and contributing to a project,” added Dr. Sesaki. “This is a fun way to make a mess, get your hands dirty. A lot of times we’re like, ‘No, you need to be clean,’ but this is a way that we can let loose a little bit, have fun with the kids, and let them see the joy of messy play. ”

Baking fosters teamwork

“You’re all working towards a goal,” Dr. McHugh went on. “When you work really hard at something with your family, then you meet your goal, it feels two times better. You can buy cupcakes at the store, but when you work together, it can make [kids] feel like [they’ve] done something really special.”

Baking teaches structure

“Baking is a great way to teach rules and provide structure, but then within that, you get to have a little fun. You have the general framework of how to bake these yummy cupcakes, but then you’ll add fun sprinkles and decorations,” Dr. Sesaki explained. “It’s a great way to teach kids that there are rules for a reason and guidelines for a reason, but if appropriate, you can totally be creative and discover your style.”

Baking gives kids a choice

“It’s an opportunity during the day when you can let the kids be in charge,” Dr. McHugh shared. “That’s awesome because a lot of the day, kids kind of have to listen to what their mom and dads tell them. They have to follow directions all of the time and there isn’t a lot of time for them to do things how they want to do them. It’s a great opportunity to give them a sense of control. In times where we don’t have a lot of control, which can make us feel afraid, or worried, or upset, having a little moment each day when you can have some control, it’s awesome.”

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