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Kids Want to Watch TV? Turn on a Cooking Show

More and more kids are tuning in to TV cooking programming - and, it turns out, these shows have a lot in common with children's TV. According to an article on the website ParentDish, cooking shows share the following features with kids' programs: simple plotlines, few locations, a narrator or presenter who speaks directly to camera, and easily understandable tasks.

Daniel R. Anderson, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, says younger kids enjoy watching cooking-related activities that they're easily able to recognize, such as stirring or chopping. They also like playing at cooking, especially if it's something they see their parents doing. "Kids really want to be grown up," Anderson says. "They want to do grown-up things."

Cooking shows also appeal to kids' tendency to explore their world hands-on. "They examine processes and explain how things work," J. Alison Bryant says. Bryant works for PlayScience, a consulting firm that often conducts surveys of children regarding their TV habits, and she notes that the Food Network is consistently a top-10 favorite channel for kids.

Worried about your kids spending so much time in front of the TV, even though they're watching cooking shows? Never fear: older children are often inspired to cook for themselves when they watch their favorite shows. Celebrity chefs are great role models for kids: they've achieved success through hard work, they enjoy what they do, and they have marketable skills.


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