It can be said that the families of today have become child-centric. With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, people are finding themselves confined to their homes. If you’re in the kitchen these days, chances are high that your kids will follow you too. Millions of parents are working from home these days while keeping their kids occupied too. Cooking with kids is fun, however, it can be messy too. You might have flour in places and end up with an untidy kitchen. Parents need to learn how to keep their kids happy as well as safe while cooking.
There are plenty of reasons to cook with kids. Kids love to cook, there is no denying in that. You should encourage your kid and keep him or her actively involved in the whole process. Teaching children to cook has plenty of benefits. Since there is a room full of creativity, cooking with kids can leave them with a sense of accomplishment at the end. Cooking is a life skill and teaching your little one this skill can really help them set up for life ahead. Flour-spattered kitchen counter, bits of eggshell here and there, irregularly shaped cookies, are all worth it for their overall development.
Let’s move ahead and know about some tips on cooking with kids without losing your mind:
Mess is good:
As mentioned earlier, cooking with kids is a messy business. You can’t expect your little kid to not spill or drop stuff. You should expect them to create a mess and should be prepared for it. Exercising a little damage control goes a long way here. You can consider covering the floor with a table cloth or kitchen wipes. Placing a tray underneath their working area can save you a lot of time cleaning up. Also, you can put them in clothes safe for cooking. Teaching children to cook is a goal which requires patient efforts.
Clear the area:
Our kitchens are designed for adults. The first step for teaching children to cook is to clear your kitchen of sharp tools and objects. You’ll have to keep them away from your child at all times. Moreover, you’ll need to provide your kid with a safe area. You can consider using sturdy stools or chairs so that they can even stand on these. Basically, you’ll have to set up a cooking station for your kids. Don’t forget to seat them away from heat. Don’t forget to arm everyone present in the kitchen with an apron.
Get them acquainted:
When it comes to kids cooking activities, you should get them ready beforehand. You should instruct them about maintaining food hygiene. Ensure their hands are clean and they aren’t poking ingredients. Once done, talk your kid through the recipe. While cooking with older children, it’s easy. You can make them read the steps out aloud before starting the process. When the scenario is to cook with younger kids, you can simply explain the process through pictures. This instates a sense of purpose in their minds.
Easy kitchen activities:
As kids cooking activities thumb rule, you should always give your kids easy kitchen activities. Starting small is necessary so that the process isn’t overwhelming for them. When you give your kid a seat at the table, give them easy tasks like washing veggies, tearing lettuce, pouring water, mixing ingredients or other simple tasks. It is only then that you can make their time interactive, full of learning and interesting. Giving small tasks when you cook with kids will not slow down your meal preparation. While they’re busy rinsing the vegetables, you can multitask and work.
Keep the bin nearby:
When you’re cooking with kids around, every time you want to throw something away, you can’t run across the kitchen. Having a garbage or compost bin just adjacent to your working station is necessary. This makes sure that your attention is undivided at all times. Naughty kids can escape in a wink. If you want to cook with kids, don’t leave them alone, not for a single second. You’ll have to be attentive and on-toes at all times.
Teach them techniques:
One of the challenges for parents is to teach children to cook. Teaching them techniques can be a bit of hassle. You can always take help of visuals and show videos to your kids. For instance, how to hold a spoon for stirring, how to crack an egg properly, how to cut fruits or veggies using a child-safe knife and much more. Repeating easy tasks in front of your kids can encourage them to do the same. To make kids cooking activities fun, you should do the tasks together.
Give everybody a task:
If you’re multiple kids in the house, you should divide the tasks and give everybody at least one task. This upholds the team spirit and keeps everybody engaged. Your ten-year-old child and two-year-old toddler should have a different set of responsibilities. Since attention span varies significantly with age, you should assign tasks to your children based on their age. Your younger one might start getting squirmy after 10 good minutes, don’t be discouraged. As simple as manning the spoon can be given to a toddler while cutting or chopping veggies can be handled by an elder sibling.
Providing your child with decision-making opportunities can boost their self-confidence. Cooking with kids is a cumbersome task. The process is a mess however; you can always expect your kids to help you clean. Although kids love to cook, there are still a few for whom cooking ain’t a cup of tea. Cooking with kids is all about touching and tasting. It’s an experience which you should make enjoyable for them. Always remember that practice makes perfect. Teaching your children how to cook and navigate around the kitchen is one of the most important lessons of their lives.