Cooking with your kids sounds wonderful. And before I had kids I envisioned making cookies with them on Saturday mornings and big breakfasts on Sundays. Now that I have an 8 month old and almost 3 year old toddler my idealistic ideas are out the window. Don't get me wrong we still attempt cookies and love big Sunday brunches! But, I’ve learned a couple things about how to involve them but also maintain your sanity.
We know including kids in the kitchen is beneficial. We know they are more apt to try stuff if they helped grocery shop, pick it from the garden, cut it up or prepare it. But I get it, sometimes a toddler mixing a bowl and getting most of the ingredients into the ground isn’t always helpful.
I always feel like half of cooking together is connecting with the other person. The second half is about the actual food. But the connection part is a big one. I remember being a teen coming home from one of those long teenage-drama-filled-days and helping my mom prepare dinner for our family. Not wanting to talk much at the beginning but happy to just peel potatoes in the same space as her. By the time the meal was made I was feeling better about things and there was almost no discussion about my bad day. All I needed was the connection preparing food together gave us.
Being able to connect with your family members over prepping a meal and then sitting down to enjoy it together is one of life simplest pleasures. Whether it's a simple meal of scrambled eggs and toast or a delicious roast chicken dinner the company is the most important.
My Top Five Tips:
Grab your carrier! Babies love to be involved and part of the action!
Ask your kids what to cook for dinner, they will often surprise with hilarious answers. Charlotte's current favourite request is broccoli and ice cream.. haha!
Break steps down into simple tasks. Getting toddlers to take the stems off tomatoes, or put cut veggies into measuring cups is a great hand eye coordination activity!
Encourage their interest in food, let them taste different foods raw vs cooked. Charlotte was dying to try raw onion the other night so I said “Sure try a raw onion, but I like to eat them more when they are cooked!” Sure enough she thoroughly enjoyed eating the raw onion... oh dear..
Make the time to cook together. This may mean week night dinners are easier to just get made and onto the table, but if your kids are interested in participating get them to help setting the table or making their own plate.