These Are the Best Tips for Cooking with Kids
There are lots of benefits to including your kids in the kitchen. They get a chance to develop a variety of academic and motor skills, learn responsibility and be creative! While we know it can be hard for parents to let go of control sometimes, in the end it makes cooking more fun for the whole family! We have rounded up the best tips for starting to cook with your kids.
Psst… If you are looking for inspiration to get started, check out The 15 Best Healthy Summer Snacks for Kids!
Start With Recipes
One of the benefits of cooking together is that your kids get to practice skills like reading and following directions while they help you out. If they are comfortable with using recipes, they will feel more confident to start improvising a little bit!
Let Your Kids Pick the Recipe
The more your kids are invested in this dish, the more they will appreciate the end result. Use this opportunity to expose your kids to new foods and different flavors, too! If you’re looking for some great kid-friendly recipes to cook with the whole family, check out sites like Food Network, Cooking with Kids or BBC Good Food.
Separate Steps by Age Group
Use cooking as an opportunity to practice different developmental skills for different age groups. While younger ones can start with mixing and measuring ingredients, older kids can try their hand at more advanced dishes and techniques.
Bring Things Down to Their Level — Literally!
Find ways to make cooking more accessible to your kiddos! A food processor instead of a sharp knife or a mixing bowl on a lower surface can make the experience feel easier and more natural for everyone.
Get Your Hands Dirty… but Wash Them First!
Let your kids touch dirty vegetables before they are washed or knead dough themselves. Take this chance to teach your children about food hygiene and the importance of working responsibly in the kitchen.
Give Your Kids Ownership Over Their Work
Whether it’s choosing their own apron to wear in the kitchen, cutting a sandwich into a fun shape or letting them garnish dishes on their own before eating, your kids will take pride in having their own unique place in the kitchen and the meal.
Leave Dinner Time Etiquette Behind
If you just made that batch of cookies, it’s alright to go ahead and eat dessert first! Feel free to taste your food throughout the cooking process or not to eat your dish at all–the most important part is the process!
Leave the Cleanup for Afterwards
Mess is the number one reason parents might avoid including kids in the kitchen. Don’t be afraid of it, be smarter about it! The kitchen can wait for a deep cleaning until after you all have been in there together. Your kids will learn how to avoid the mess as they improve over time.
Include Kids in All Parts of the Process
Meal preparation and cooking are great, but it can be fun to let your kids help with everything from grocery shopping to meal planning, too. Try sitting down with your kids and letting them choose a dinner once a week to cook as a family. Then, bring them to the store with you so they can get the ingredients for the meal! This will give them a first-hand look at the cooking process before you even step into the kitchen.
The best thing you can do is encourage your kids in their attempts, even if it’s not perfect. A little bit of praise can go a long way in boosting a child’s excitement to learn and practice in the kitchen!