On Episode Two of The Real Housewives of Sydney, you'll find me in the kitchen baking with my girls Nawal and Neve. This wasn't a scene just set up for the show, it's something the girls and I love to do together - and something that I think is really important.
Cooking and baking with your kids is not only a great way to spend some quality time together and get them away from technology, it also teaches them so many important life skills.
The more they help, the more they'll eat
Like all kids, my girls went through their fussy eating stages.
Cooking together in the kitchen was an easy way for me to encourage them to try new foods - or to retry foods they had decided were off limits. The more your kids are involved with making a recipe, the more likely they are to try the end result.
Cooking builds literacy and numeracy skills
They'll never know it, but cooking and baking is great for building your child's literacy and numeracy skills.
Get them to read out the ingredients or instructions to help with their reading - or get them to write out a recipe to make later if they struggle with writing or spelling.
Whilst you're cooking, develop their numeracy skills by giving them age-appropriate tasks. Get them to count as they measure out ingredients (3 tablespoons of flour - 1, 2, 3), help them to better understand fractions (two 1/4 cup measures make a 1/2 cup, etc) - the list goes on and on.
Build their confidence
Cooking and baking with your kids gives you a great opportunity to praise and encourage them and you'll see their self confidence sky rocket when they realise they helped to bake a cake or make dinner for the family.
They'll also become more confident in their own cooking abilities which is so important as they get older. Now that Nawal and Neve are older, they will happily make themselves lunch or a snack - and sometimes, on a special occasion, they'll even make Adam and I breakfast in bed!
Cooking is a great creative outlet
Neve loves to bake and it's a hobby I really encourage. Cooking and baking is a great creative outlet as they can express themselves through presentation or tweaking and changing recipes to make their own creations.
It gives kids a great opportunity to serve others
Whether they're baking cupcakes for a friend's birthday or cooking something to brighten someone's day, cooking and baking gives kids a great opportunity to serve and love others in a tangible way.