Cooking is an essential skill, a skill that everyone needs to learn how to do before they move out of the family home. Something that all of us parents need to start teaching at a young age and inside the family kitchen. Not only is it an essential skill but it is a great bonding experience for you and your little ones. As a mother myself and chef in the past I have found some amazing ways to get cooking with kids and getting them to help in the kitchen without you having to do so much worrying.
No matter what you always have prep work to do when you are in a kitchen. Regardless of if you are in a high paced work kitchen environment or just cooking with kids at home you will need to have sous chefs at work. That means you can start working with your kids on their basic skills: such as peeling, chopping and washing everything you need to make your meal. Take it slow, enjoy the process and be patient with your little ones as they learn from you.
Clean As You Go
When you are cooking in the kitchen you will always make a big mess, cooking with little ones is no different. Now is the time to teach them to get in the habit of cleaning as they go. Saving time at the end of the meal and helping to keep your kitchen space clean. Ensuring they are washing their hands at the appropriate times and teaching them why that will keep them safe in the kitchen. This is also a great way to introduce “cleaner safety” for those instances where vinegar and water might not cut it.
Measure Before You Cook
When you have little ones working with me I always found that doing all the needed measuring before hand. There was nothing more stressful than trying to do so during the cooking process when things are hot and time is not your friend. Being able to say: “now can you pass me the red powder, remember what it is called? Paprika! That’s right sweetie!” vs. trying to get them to measure on the fly is a lot more peaceful. It also gives you a chance to help them keep learning the many different and amazing ingredients there are.
Remember you are wanting this to be a great learning experience for both of you. This is a wonderful time to also get to know your little ones tastes and preferences even better. By tasting the ingredients, it is also a great way to introduce your kids to brand new things. A great way to help you get more adventurous in the kitchen as well. Being able to teach your little ones these skills and sense of love for food will only encourage them to do so with their own children. You may even end up with teenagers who will love going shopping with you and give menu input all the time, a mom can dream.
Keep It Fun
The number one thing to always remember when cooking with your kids is that this is supposed to be a fun moment for the both of you. That means understanding that cooking with kids will mean it taking longer to complete tasks. It will also mean there will be more mistakes and more mess but that is what learning is all about. Keep smiling and keep making a mess in the kitchen together – all the memories will be more than worth it.
Teaching your little ones this essential skill is a great way to bond, learn together and develop a passion for food. Nothing brings a family together better than a home cooked meal.
We would love to some of the things you cook with your kids, please share with us!