So, you’ve decided to take on the challenge of cooking with your kids after being inspired from reading our article discussing all the benefits it yields. But, if you’re a bit like me, regardless of the positive outcomes, you may still be envisioning the gigantic mess this might create or thinking about how it could add a significant amount of time a process that you already don’t have a whole lot of time to complete.
For the longest time, I avoided cooking with my kids because of these reasons, but I have come to the realization that it’s more about the process of cooking with my children than it is about the mess we may produce. So, to encourage you to set aside your potential reservations about cooking with the kids, I have come up with some tips to help along the way.
7 Tips For Stress Free Cooking with Kids:
- Cook together when you HAVE time: If you are unsure or just simply don’t think you have the time, start with something easy (pancakes) on a weekend when you don’t have any place to go. Wednesday night before (or after) soccer practice if probably not the best time to start your cooking adventure.
- Make the cleanup part of the process: After all, anytime you cook, you inevitably need to clean up after yourself. Involve the kids in the whole process so that someday they can/will do it all themselves.
- Pre-cut veggies and put into plastic cups for smaller children: My 2-year-old is adamant that she wants to participate. Since she cannot be around hot stoves or sharp knives, I let her pour ingredients into the bowl and even scoop flour or sugar out of the container. Which leads me to…
- Prep the countertop: Place wax paper, newspaper, or a even paper bag under the flour and sugar containers so that when there are spills it’s super easy to clean it up.
- Involve your kids in the recipe search: Let older kids research recipes online and pick out something they want to make.
- Put the older kids in charge: Again, for older kids, have your planned recipes for the week written out on their own index cards and have the kids randomly pick out a recipe that they will make for the family. Of course, you can assist. But, let them be in charge of the cooking and have them tell you what to do. This will help with leadership skills as well as teach them personal responsibility.
- Enjoy the process. Don’t worry about the product: If the meal is a bust for some reason then that’s okay because it’s important to be able to learn from our mistakes/failures so that we know what to do better next time. Just make sure you have a pizza or some chicken nuggets you can heat up as a backup.
Hopefully, by putting these tips into practice they can help make the whole cooking experience less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone. That way, you can all truly enjoy the process of cooking together and, hopefully, the end product as well!
Do you have some tips that can help ease the stress of cooking with kids? Share them below in our comments section!