Two of the best predictors of life-long health and well-being are early childhood self-control skills and healthy eating habits. A new program that teaches parents how to cook with their 2-year-olds is helping toddlers excel on both fronts. Doing things like stirring ingredients together without spilling and singing a song while something is in the microwave helps toddlers learn multiple important self-control skills, like paying attention, controlling their bodies, waiting patiently, and cooperating with their parents. Toddlers also get excited about being involved in the “grown-up” activity and are more likely to try the new foods they help make. Previous research has shown that self-control in preschool predicts adult outcomes like higher incomes and fewer health problems. Similarly, healthy eating habits in preschool predict how often adults eat their fruits and vegetables.
The Recipe 4 Success program was co-developed and rigorously tested by a team of researchers from