7 Ways To Get Your Kids More Involved In The Kitchen
August 27, 2018 | by QualicoCommunities
Let’s be honest - kids don’t naturally gravitate towards helping you in the kitchen. However, the love of cooking, or the desire to help cook, can be developed with a few simple tricks. To get some little helping hands involved in meal time, here are seven ideas on how to get your kids more involved in the kitchen.
Take them shopping
The first step to getting your kids more involved in the kitchen is to take them grocery shopping. Talk to them about foods you typically buy, what you love about the taste, and why it’s good for them to eat it. Even better yet, let them pick up fresh fruits and vegetables themselves so they can really feel involved. If they show an interest in something healthy, buy it even if it’s not on the list! Kids are a lot more likely to try foods that they picked out themselves.
Grow a garden together
Kids love being their parent’s ‘special little helper,’ so why not have them tend to a small herb or vegetable garden? They’ll love watching their seed grow from their efforts, and they’ll get the satisfaction of pulling it from the garden to use as an ingredient for cooking. Some easy vegetables to grow are carrots, peas, and lettuce. For herbs, try chives, basil, or parsley. Nothing is better than the rewarding taste of fresh, homegrown foods!
Start with fun foods
When you start getting your kids more involved in the kitchen, start with foods they find exciting and fun. Cookies, muffins, and pizzas are all favourites and they’re simple enough that even the littlest of hands can help. Make it even more fun with their own apron and chef’s hat, and play their favourite music as they experiment in the kitchen.
Plan meals together
While your idea of heaven might be someone planning and cooking dinner then calling you to the table when it’s ready, doing the same to your kids won’t do much in the way of getting them excited about cooking. To get them involved, plan meals together before grocery shopping. Give them a choice between two meals - it’s easier to let them pick between homemade chicken nuggets or hamburgers than it is to leave the choice too open-ended. Once they decide, you can reaffirm their decision by saying “good choice, that sounds tasty!” - it’ll make them feel confident in their decision making. Plus, when they pick the dinner themselves, they’ll feel more pride in preparing and eating the meal.
Cooking with your kids might not be an everyday thing, but regardless, be sure to set aside time to eat together. It gives you time to unwind for the day, and it’s a great way to create a positive family bonding experience.
Keep it age appropriate
The key to getting kids excited about helping in the kitchen is to give them age-appropriate tasks. The last thing you want is to associate the kitchen with frustration and anger because they’re attempting something that is too far beyond their skill level.
For toddlers, tasks like adding already measured ingredients to a mixing bowl or stirring batter is good. Preschool-aged kids can crack eggs, spread butter or jam on toast, and help set the table. If your kids are older, they can start using more specialized kitchen tools like a cheese grater or garlic press. The first few tries may be messy, but it’ll all be worth it when you see the pride on your child’s face for helping you prepare a meal.
Make the time
You know that cooking yourself would be a lot faster, but that doesn’t mean you should take an all or nothing approaching to getting your kids involved in the kitchen. If you feel pressed for time, start by having your kids help you cook on the weekends. Or get them involved in preparing breakfast, which is typically a much more simple and streamlined meal than a complex dinner involving multiple ingredients.
Alternatively, snack time is a great way to get kids involved. Toast, cereal, and vegetables with premade dip are all quick and easy for kids.
Do you have any other tips of how to get your kids to help in the kitchen? Let us know!