I’ll be honest, I hated having my kid in the kitchen when I was cooking. There were too many hands around, too many sharp objects, and I was just too tired. Things changed after my wife let him help make breakfast one weekend. I was shocked to see that he actually ate the food that he cooked. He actively tasted things as they were cooking the food instead of pursing his lips. I knew there was something to this cooking with kids thing. Here’s how to involve your kids in the kitchen.
Keep it Age Appropriate
Obviously, you’re not going to hand your three-year-old a knife. But what they can do is help wash produce, rip/break ingredients such as lettuce or green beans, or add items such as sauce or seasonings. Once they are older you can start incorporating things like mashing, stirring, grating, or peeling. These activities save you time in the kitchen and help them develop fine motor skills. Win, win! When it comes to knives, use your best judgment but it might be best to save that for kids in their double digits.
Safety for Kids in the Kitchen
- Always wash hands prior to handling food, and after touching raw foods.
- Prep in advance. Get their step stool ready if needed, and lay out ingredients.
- Clean as you go, it’s going to be messy.
- Make sure your kid understands to ask before tasting.
- Be on alert! Watch those little hands.
Breakfast is a great meal to begin with. For Mother’s Day, my wife and son made this very simple Blueberry Cinnamon Roll Bake. Not only did he taste the blueberries as they went in, but he actually ate the finished product. I could not believe that allowing him to help in the kitchen resulted in my picky eater trying new food. He was so excited about the breakfast he made that he kept coming back into the kitchen to see if it was done.
Allowing your kids to help in the kitchen is sometimes irritating. And sometimes you regret it afterward. But by mentally preparing yourself by understanding that it will take longer is helpful. Also, taking the time to look over the recipe and having the ingredients ready (like doing the chopping in advance, or having them in order) will save you time and frustration.
Easy Recipes To Try
- For 2-3-year-old kids, try Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.
- No-bake snacks like Banana Caterpillars, or practice naming colors by making fruit skewers.
- Homemade alphabet soup helps practice reading or memorizing their ABC’s.
- Harness their creativity with French Bread Pizzas.
- No Churn Mermaid Ice Cream is colorful, delicious, and the perfect summer treat.
Having your kids in the kitchen can be challenging, but it does have benefits such as learning experiences, time together, and memories that last a lifetime. What are some tricks and tips for how to involve your kids in the kitchen?