Cooking with Kids
I know it, guys. Cooking with kids is your worst nightmare. It was mine for a while, too (still is, sometimes!). There are just some days where I want to make dinner without tripping over one kid, and another latched onto my legs. Thank goodness I don’t cook for my nanny family too often!
Why should you be cooking with your kids?
Cooking helps children develop a TON of different educational skills.
Measuring, counting, fractions, and weighing all contribute to kids’ math abilities, while measuring, scooping, and pouring contribute to fine motor development. Cooking also develops problem solving, sharing, sequencing, and reading skills.
Meals from scratch are typically healthier, thus exposing children to nutritional values.
The earlier you introduce your children to healthy food, the more likely they will prefer it to processed junk! You’ll also be more likely to avoid chemicals and sweeteners this way.
Cooking is an essential life skill, and will give your kids confidence!
Cooking is hard! Even I struggle with finding the patience to cook a full meal after a long day of work. Children need to learn to use that patience, and will develop importance confidence along the way. There’s nothing better than seeing all of your hard work pay off in the form of a delicious home cooked meal or dessert.
Cooking together is a great opportunity for some familial bonding.
I often hear parents of young children complaining that after a long day of work, they have little time to spend with their kids before bedtime. Use meal prep for that time! Getting the whole family involved in the kitchen is a great way to make cooking more fun.
Kids are more likely to eat what they make.
Now this is the best reason of all! For those of you with picky eaters, this is such a lifesaver. Kids become so proud of their kitchen creations, of course they’re going to watch to try what they made!
How the heck do I do this without going completely insane?
Because cooking with kids promotes so much healthy development and familial bonding, it needs to become part of each and every home. You don’t have to go crazy with it either… try family meal prep once a month. Once you and your family gets into the cooking routine, maybe throw it in a couple more times a month. Eventually, you may even enjoy having those extra little helping hands in the kitchen!
Until then, you should definitely try out some of these tips… I’ve found that they help avoid spills, arguments, and annoyance (at least some of the time!).
Seriously, guys. Don’t start out with a super over-complicated, fancy meal. If you do, you will go crazy, and things will get messy. Fast. I promise you. Give your kids little tasks such as washing vegetables, or even peeling them if your kids are a little older. You can increase the quantity or difficulty of those tasks with time.
Discuss kitchen safety, nutrition, and hygiene beforehand with your kids. Teach them how to use utensils such as knives and peelers properly, and keep a close watch. Take the time to also discuss germs, hand (and food) washing, and healthy eating.
Choose meals together.
Kids will be more invested in the cooking process (and more likely to eat what they’ve made) if they had a say in the menu. Explore cookbooks and online recipes to find something your entire family will love!
Require your kids to help with setup AND cleanup.
This will really help you in the long run. Before cooking, have your kids help wipe down counters, wash hands, and set out all the ingredients/utensils you’ll need. They should be helping set and clear the table as well.
Don’t forget to praise them…
It’s the most important part! Children need encouragement and praise from their parents and caregivers in order to keep their interest and boost confidence. Be prepared to lend a helping hand, and make sure to rave over how yummy their finished product is!
Even with all of those tips and tricks, cooking with kids can still be stressful. Try to remember just how much they’ll benefit from being involved in the kitchen. For all of my super moms and dads out there:
What is your favorite thing to cook with your kids?
Mine will forever be hot dog octopus with mac n’ cheese! I remembered this recipe from a SUPER old kids’ cookbook from my childhood, and I absolutely love making it with the kids I work with nearly 15 years later. I’m also very proud to say that I am a pancake artist. Yup.
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