When I tell people to bring their kids into the kitchen, they look at me like I am crazy! But I know what they are envisoning…kids with white aprons and chef hats, dressed for a photo op. But cooking with kids doesn’t have to be complicated. I promise…read on for more
If you have never cooked with your kids before, the idea of having them in the kitchen can seem intimidating. And for good reason. Depending on the age of your child, you will definitely end up with flour or shredded vegetables on the floor (hopefully you have a dog!).
But cooking with kids is just as much about shifting your mindset as it is about teaching your kids an important life skill!
Benefits of Teaching Kids How To Cook – Why Is Cooking Good For Kids?
Before we talk about shifting your mindset, lets talk about what is in it for the kids.
There are so many benefits to teaching kids to cook. I’ll list just a few below!
- Different cooking skills can help young kids improve their fine motor skills. Even young kids who are just peeling beans are having to use motor skills and coordination. It can also help to improve concentration in older kids.
- Kids who help prepare meals are more likely to try new foods and different dishes. They have a sense of pride when they are tasting something that they helped make, so it boosts their confidence as well!
- They will be able to cook for themselves in College and as an adult. Think of how much money they will save by cooking at home and how much healthier they will be from not eating out all the time!
- They will be able to cook for their own family one day and pass down family recipes to their kids. I always say that I will teach my son to cook so he can surprise his wife with dinner! 😉
- They make memories cooking with their parents that they will remember for the rest of their lives!
How To Stay Calm When Cooking With The Kids – Making Pancakes
I am going to tell you a story without giving away names or relationships 🙂 Tell me if you can relate!
When my kids were small, we made pancakes almost every weekend. My daughter would stand next to me in front of the kitchen island and my toddler son was strapped in to a high chair right next to us (with a snack of course!).
One weekend we had visitors and they couldn’t stand the mess my daughter was making. There was flour on the counter and everytime anything spilled, they were right there wiping it up.
It was stressful for all of us to say the least. Even I didn’t want the pancakes after a while.
But it got me thinking…bringing kids into the kitchen is a mindset. If you are going to get frustrated anytime they spill something, you will just be angry the whole time.
If instead you let them help you make something, then show them how to clean it up once you are done, they learn not to let the mess stop them from trying and they also learn how to clean it up! Now when my kid spill (which happens more than I would like) they know where to grab a rag and how to wipe it up.
Just keep a sense of humor when cooking with your kids. If you are like me and need a little more structure, I will have more ideas for you below. But for now, just remember that the whole point of cooking with them is to teach them life skills and to create awesome memories with them.
Sometimes I worry that they will only remember me yelling at them to do things. But at least I also know they will remember the laughing and singing while we cooked together!
What Cooking With Kids Really Looks Like
Like I said at the beginning, when I mention bringing kids into the kitchen, parents often get a picture of fancy kids, wearing fancy clothes, putting on a sparkling white apron and white chef hat. No parent wants to add 10 minutes (or realistically closer to 30 mintues) of prep just to cook.
But in reality, kids can cook in their pajamas, or outdoor clothes, or anything really!
The only rule we have is to wash your hands first.
There are a few things that will ease mom into the idea! Try a few of these (then join our new Facebook Group and let me know, which is your favorite!):
- 1Turn on some fun music! You can ask Alexa to play kid songs and she will give you a nice mix. Our favorite Amazon playlists are Caspar Babypants, Kidzbop and Recess Monkey. We also listen to mom’s music sometimes too!
- 2Make sure the task is age appropriate. Really young kids may be limited to just mixing. Older kids can crack eggs, peel vegetables or even chop. Giving them tasks that are too advanced for their age will just frustrate everyone involved.
- 3Give yourself extra time. If you have a party or event to get to, that is not the time to have the kids help. Making pancake batter takes me about 5 minutes, at the most. With the kids, it is probably closer to 15 minutes. Foods that require more chopping and prepping can take twice as long.
- 4Cooking with kids doesn’t mean they need to help with everything. Depending on their age, they may not have the attention span for it anyway. So just start by handing them a carrot to chop. As they do that, you can be chopping and dicing the rest of the food on the side. In the end, just knowing that they added something to the dish makes them excited about the whole event!
- 5If you are new to cooking yourself, or just not confident in your skills, teach them what you already know…it is more than they know! Also reference Natural Deets for tips on cooking skills 🙂
- 6Remember to be upbeat and positive, even if they do it wrong. They are always looking to make you proud and praise goes a long way!
- 7If your child just isn’t that into cooking, that is ok! Not everyone is. They can still learn about ingredients and they still need to know how to do basic skills like peeling vegetables and making simple dishes. But for now they can help with clean up or washing dishes 🙂
Cooking Recipes For Kids – What Can I Cook With Kids?
What to cook with kids will depend on your kids ages and abilities. However, they are able to help with almost any dish. If your kids are young toddlers, they may just need to watch and hand you ingredients. They can also taste the individual ingredients…that’s always fun!
Natural Deets is packed with recipes that can be make with kids. I will list our top 7 below from easiest to most complicated:
Now get those kids in the kitchen and let me know how it goes!! Start making those memories today