Set aside some time, turn up the music & share some bonding time. It can be fun for kids (big & little) – it empowers them & teaches them independence.
Honestly, a lot of food culture has been lost, as we don’t spend as much time in the kitchen with family. Kids who help choose recipes, pick produce & make the meal, often appreciate the food a bit more – because they were involved in the process. Yup it means they are more likely to eat it – winning!
Truthfully, it is not all plain sailing, but here are some tips.
Let them choose the recipe (or pick a fav).
Choose their fav, I mean everybody finds it hard to pass up their favourites right. They get excited! Of course, choose age appropriate & start little with snacks, before you tackle a main meal.
Hungry kids will not have the patience to wait until it is cooked (well, I don’t). Maybe do some snacks along the way, even tasting the ingredients as you go can be fun.
Frankly, it will take longer with little helpers – but we all started somewhere! Be patient, do things together, take turns, explain what you are doing & why. They will get faster as their confidence picks up.
It will get messy!
Often they aren’t co-ordinated & they spill things. Geez, I’m not co-ordinated & spill things! It happens, just allow extra time & get all hands-on deck to wipe down counters at the end & wash the dishes or stack the dishwasher.
An apron is great, as it will get messy! There will be spillage of flour & the occasional drip.
Make it easy.
Kitchens aren’t designed for little people. They may need to stand on a chair at the counter, the wooden spoon may be too big for them to comfortably hold. Line up any utensils/bowls/measuring cups you need beforehand. My 7yo apprentice loves to mash, stir & measure whilst I cut/chop.
Wash hands at the beginning & use age/skill appropriate utensils. Remember to keep little folk away from stove tops or the steam from the kettle. Make sure any saucepan handles overhanging the side of the bench where little hands can pull or grab them.
Keep it interesting & fun.
Make it into a secret recipe, witches brew or science experiment. Talk about where ingredients come from or how they grow, even what else they can be used in. Conversation about why the recipe steps are a particular order, or if someone should have a special title whilst making the recipe.
It starts conversations, is educational, promotes teamwork & most importantly – it is fun. Our house also loves to have a bit of a dance to the music & who doesn’t love to lick the bowl? Truthfully it will take longer & be messy, but the benefits & memories made will be worth it.
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