It’s Pancake Day – hooray, hooray, hooray! Possibly the most delicious day of the year has arrived and we for one are excited to get mixing, flipping and munching. It may not be able to solve all our social-distancing problems, but at least staying home and eating pancakes beats the regular sort of staying home we’re all used to now. Have we made you hungry yet?
There’s something special about getting the family together, choosing favourite toppings and consuming a pile of crepe-y goodness around the dining table/Zoom screen. And it’s not just the fact pancakes pair well with ice cream. So what makes this meal, or indeed most meals cooked and eaten together, so beneficial and enjoyable? It’s psychology of pancakes.
As a nation we love pancakes so flipping much that a survey last year revealed we will, on average, devour three each on or around the big day. No one person could possibly have made their way through the world’s largest pancake though. Created here in the UK, the giant crepe measured a whopping 15 metres in diameter and was an inch deep. Drool.
Regardless of size a good pancake is basic, tasty and has a psychology of its own. Their nature means they are perfect for all ages to join in and make so, whatever your family looks like, everyone can be involved in production and of course an obligatory flip or two. It’s a great activity to encourage cooperation, belonging, achievement and success.
Ok, we invented ‘the psychology of pancakes’, but the science behind it is all real. Preparing, cooking and above all eating a meal together as a family can have a hugely positive impact on a child’s mental and physical health. Pancakes are simply a perfect example.
For a start, regularly eating together as a family often leads children involved to become more physically healthy. Studies show they are more likely to get their five-a-day and less likely to be obese with conversations around the table meaning more talking and slower or less eating. Many foster children have issues with food, so watching adults modelling a good relationship with it and having regular mealtimes can help with challenges.
It has also been suggested that children who eat together with their family may fair better in school. Regardless of where a cared-for child is at in their education, the act of sitting, remembering manners and listening to others speak can encourage concentration and a greater vocabulary. These will both assist learning - and every little helps after all.
The act of sharing a family meal can improve mental health too. As well as the benefits found in routine, regularly sitting down and engaging as a team enables bonding. It also encourages a child to discover their self-identity through their own special role. Discussions allow their value to be reinforced as they equally learn to appreciate the values of others and to empathise. Everyday conversations also improve communication skills and help foster children to feel connected. Overall, anxiety can be reduced and general mental health boosted.
Milk, flour, eggs and healthier, happier children - the psychology of pancakes is powerful. Now, lemon and sugar or chocolate spread...?