May 032019
9 Tips On Cooking with Kids

9 Tips on Cooking with Kids

Let’s face it ladies and gents, preparing dinner usually feels like a dreaded chore. We come home from work exhausted and maybe even a bit irritable. The last thing we want to think about is getting food on the table, much less engaging our children in the process. Slow down, relax and take a deep breath. Cooking with your little ones can be an enjoyable bonding experience.
A few years ago, I used to babysit my two-year-old niece. Helping me in the kitchen was one of her favorite activities. Sure, she made a mess, but we had fun.

☼ Create A Fun Environment

This is a very important step. If you’re not having fun, neither will your little ones. Play some music and sing along with your kids. Surprise them with their own cooking utensils in fun colors, or an apron and chef’s hat. Your little tots may even enjoy their very own cookbook.

☼ Planning A Meal

Once a week ask your children to decide on a meal for the family dinner. If you’re afraid they may say cake, try giving them a few healthy options to choose from.
The older kids can even assist with the grocery list. You can read the recipe together and write down the ingredients needed from the store. When grocery shopping, have your child cross out items on the list.

Safety First

The kitchen is full of potential dangers, so monitor your children closely. Teach them kitchen safety and remind them often, because children tend to have short attention spans.

☼ Prep Time

Always educate them on good hygiene, by pulling back long hair and having them wash their hands thoroughly (teach them to sing Happy Birthday twice, as they wash their hands. This is a fun way to practice cleanliness).
Depending on your child’s age, they can measure, chop, wash vegies, snap peas, shred lettuce, pull herbs from their stems or crack some eggs.
It’s up to you to decide when your older children are ready to work with grown up tools, such as knives. Make sure they are aware of knife safety and instruct them how to properly work with sharp objects.

☼ Measure & Pour

Your younger ones can watch as you measure ingredients, then they can pour everything into a bowl. This is a great time to enlighten them on terms like teaspoon, tablespoon and cup.
The older children can measure, and you can teach them about leveling ingredients with the edge of a knife.

☼ Stirring & Combining

Even young children can practice stirring batters and combining dry ingredients. You can coach them by using different techniques, including gently folding ingredients or using a whisk to whip everything together.

☼ Clean Up Time

Let them help clean up by wiping spills or bringing dirty dishes to the sink.

☼ Setting the Dinner Table

Children can place the silverware or dishes on the table. Show them how to put the napkins in the napkin rings or pour the drinks. Teach your children which utensils are appropriate for different entrees and let them begin to choose which to use for each dish.

☼ Tips

Most of all don’t forget to thank your children for assisting you and give them praise for a job well done.
What are your favorite ways to involve your children in the kitchen?

Reader Comments

  1. I am always amazed at how many adults don’t know how to cook. I learned as a kid and I’m teaching my kids. Great article. I hope it inspires more people to get kids involved in the kitchen.

    1. Jen,
      Cooking seems to be a lost art form. Our society is dependent upon meals in a box or hot off the heat lamp. I wish more people would take the time to cook and learn how to grow their own food (even if it’s herbs on a windowsill).

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    1. Cooking is a very important life skill. I’ve discovered there are many kids/teens who don’t have any idea how to even boil an egg.

      I have two neices who love to cook. My daughter on the other hand has no desire to help out in the kitchen. I’m not a great cook, but I would love to pass on to her what I’ve learned.

  2. I certainly started cooking with my mother in her kitchen… And was so proud when I’d contributed to dinner! And if I may add, a hint from her – a mixing bowl with a handle – they make some, now, or you can use a measuring pitcher as we did – makes it easier for a child to hold and mix things.

    1. Anne,
      Thanks for the tip, I completely forgot about the mixing bowls with handles. They are perfect for the little ones.

      I felt the same way when I would help my mom or grandma cook dinner. It always felt like a huge and exciting accomplishment.

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