With kids in the house, getting dinner ready can be an arduous task. Too often you hear the words “I don’t like broccoli” or “I want pizza/pasta/hotdogs”!
One way to transform this daily challenge into an opportunity is by inviting your kids to join you in the kitchen. Not only will this teach them a skill they can use for life, it will also make cooking a bonding experience rather than a rushed part of the day you would rather be without.
Read on to get tips on how to cook with your kids.
Reasons for Cooking with Your Children
Knowing how to cook a proper, healthy meal is an important skill to have. Teaching your kids basic cooking techniques, for example how to cook pasta or chop an onion, is a great start of their culinary journey.
Besides learning basic cooking skills, being in the kitchen may also improve your kid’s willingness to try out new foods. Even a picky eater may want to take a bite of a new meal if he or she has helped cook it. By personally picking, chopping and cooking, for example, a new vegetable, your child may realise that this particular ingredient is in fact not too scary, and will maybe even try it out.
Cooking is also a great outlet for creativity and letting your kids experiment with flavours, colours and textures help them develop a joy of creating.
Listen to Their Ideas
You may have a firm idea of how you want a spaghetti Bolognese to taste and look. However, being too stringent with your normal cooking may not be the best approach when bringing your kids to help out.
Remember to listen to your kid’s suggestions. Even though a cooking idea from your pre-schooler may sound odd, try going with it anyway. Encouragement and trial-and-error are important parts of growing their joy of cooking.
Similarly, your child may not be able to chop a veggie as finely or precisely as you normally would yourself. Remember to acknowledge their effort anyway, and don’t alter too much with their cooking duties.
Accept the Mess
Granted, it is unlikely that your kitchen always looks tidy when you are cooking yourself. However, it will look more messy than usual when you bring your kids with you.
More food will fall on the floor, things will get tipped over, dropped and forgotten about.
This makes an excellent basis for teaching your kids about kitchen hygiene; washing your hands, not using the same chopping board for raw meats and veggies and why you need to wipe the kitchen counter are examples of topics to discuss.
Having fun with the mess rather than stressing about it will help your kids relax in the kitchen as well. You can always work on the tidiness later when your child has gained more confidence in their cooking.
Use the Right Utensils
Not all kids are the same. You know your child the best — consider their skills when suggesting a task and tools for them to use. Some may be fine using a small kitchen knife and stirring in hot pans, while other kids may be better off kneading a dough, mixing a salad or peeling the veggies.
That being said, it is important to also give your child a challenge. If he or she always has to peel the carrots and nothing else, cooking may start feeling like a chore rather than a fun activity. This is likely to demotivate them from joining you.
Select the Right Recipes
Not all recipes are created equal!
Most cookbooks and online recipes will be text-heavy and display small lettering and few to no images.
With My Foodie Box, every easy-to-follow recipe card has a main photo for you and your child to aim for. In addition, all the six simple steps have an illustrative image showing you how to do.
By selecting recipes like the My Foodie Box recipe cards, you and your child can easily follow the cooking method. This makes for a more enjoyable and relaxed time in the kitchen!
So, what are you waiting for? Head over and check out next week’s My Foodie Box recipes to get started with easy-to-cook dinners — and remember to ask your kid which recipe he or she wants to start with!