5 Benefits of Baking
The 1st Feb-7th Feb is Children’s mental health week. But what are the benefits of baking and how do they help your child achieve a positive mindset?
The last 12 months have been extremely challenging for us all. And our children have had to deal with so much change that even the most resilient are bound to be feeling the effects.
For a child with an interest in baking it can be the perfect way for you to help take their mind off of all the uncertainty that they are experiencing and provide them with an opportunity to share how they’re feeling.
How Baking Helps?
There are more than 5 benefits of baking but these are the ones that immediately spring to my mind and, I have personally experienced and/or seen the effects in others. Particularly when working with children in schools and during 1:1 baking workshops.
1 – Mindfulness
Mindfulness is defined as the practice of paying attention in the present moment. Engaging in the regular practice of mindfulness can reduce stress levels, increase focus and attention span and help us become better at managing our emotions. Baking is mindful activity. The preparation, the weighing, and the mixing, all tasks that require your attention and focus. The first few times your child may find it difficult to remain focused as the excitement kicks in but with regular ‘practice’, as they start to pay attention to their actions and focus on the positive experience it will become easier for them and you. You can find out more about mindfulness at Presence of Mind.
2 – Communication
Children ask A LOT of questions whilst baking 😊. I’ve had conversations with kids of all ages that have covered all kinds of topics. From gender stereotypes to school life. It is a good opportunity to open up discussions and get kids to share what’s on their mind. Sometimes that can be a deep conversation sharing a secret or worry, and other times it can just be about the latest TV show or game.
3 – Random Acts of Kindness
Scientific studies have shown that random acts of kindness trigger the release of hormones in our brain. Mainly oxytocin which is key to building trust in others, dopamine which makes us feel joyful and happy, and serotonin which regulates our moods. When we partake in an act of kindness it makes us feel good as these hormones are released and the recipient of our kindness also feels good. It is a win/win. Sharing your bakes with family, friends, and neighbours teaches your child about sharing and at the same time makes them feel good about themselves.
4 – Reduces Screen Time
Research conducted in 2018 showed that for children aged 2-17 there was a correlation between their emotional stability, how easily they were distracted, and excessive screen time compared to children in the same age group that had less exposure to screens. (Article).
During the pandemic screen time definitely increased for my children and whilst I appreciate it is about what they are viewing and using screens for that is important, I also don’t want dependencies on screens to become a thing. One of the benefits of baking is that it can reduce this screen time whilst providing all of the benefits above. Even if it is only for an hour or two. That’s 2 hours less in front of the TV, mobile phone, or tablet.
5 – Problem-solving
So let’s keep it real here. Achieving the benefits of baking won’t be instantaneous or a quick fix and there may even be times where it feels like it’s more hassle than it’s worth. When mistakes are made and things go wrong or don’t turn out as you expected. But this in itself is a great skill for your kids to learn. How to deal with problems? How can we improve for next time? What can we do differently? Knowing how to move on from a challenge is vital for a positive mindset.
It’s important to ensure your child’s mental wellbeing is being cared for but what about yours? What if baking is an activity that really doesn’t float your boat? How do you reap the benefit of baking and ensure the experience, whilst beneficial to your child, isn’t turning you into a nervous wreck?
These are my 3 top tips to make the process as easy and as stress-free as possible for everyone.
- Keep a stocked store cupboard. There are many baking basics that you can keep in your cupboard that have a really long shelf life making it quick and easy to get baking. Check out my favourite things to stock in my baking ingredient and equipment cupboard HERE.
- Have a go to recipe. This can be that one thing that you and your child love to bake. That doesn’t require too much thinking. It doesn’t even have to be a from scratch recipe. If you’re just starting out with baking keep a box or packet mix in the cupboard that you can reach for when the need to bake arises.
- Let go of the outcome. Don’t stress about the end result before you’ve even started. The important thing is that you have fun, spend time together and create some great memories!
If you’re a busy mum who’d love more useful tips on baking quickly and easily with the kids join my FREE Facebook group Busy Mums Baking.