The experts will tell you, there’s no better way to hone your cooking
skills than to practice. Whether it’s making an entire meal together,
or using Grandma’s secret recipe to whip up a batch of her “famous”
chocolate chip cookies, cooking together is an excellent way to bond with
your family, share the workload, teach your children valuable life skills,
and instill healthy nutritional habits.
The trick is to find recipes that are kid-friendly to make it a fun, family event.
Here are some ideas for involving the whole family in meal time prep:
◆ Toddlers love to feel involved, so don’t leave them out. Let them
play with empty pots and pans and utensils to make them feel like they
are in on the action.
◆ Preschoolers can learn about different ingredients and how their favorite
foods are created. They get to try doing things for themselves, which
is the best way to learn, build their confidence, and create life-long skills.
◆ Elementary-age kids can apply what they’ve learned in their math
classes and experiment with measuring tools as they use recipes to prepare
meals. It’s also a perfect time to weave in chats about healthy
eating and tips for making healthy nutritional choices, which can instill
healthy eating habits for a lifetime.
◆ Teens usually like to have input on family decisions, so they may enjoy
planning meals and being open to trying new and different cuisine. They
may also want to recreate meals they’ve tried at restaurants, or
search for recipes online based on their food preferences.
TIPS FOR HAVING THE MOST FUN IN THE KITCHEN
Messes happen. Kids and adults alike often experience spills or mishaps
in the kitchen. Realize that you may encounter more mess than usual, but
try to be understanding and have patience.
Don’t Rush It
Make sure you pick a time to involve kids when you’re not in a hurry
to get dinner on the table. If you are in a rush and everyone’s
starving late one evening after soccer practice, it can add to the stress
and defeat the purpose of having fun and enjoying the process of cooking together.
- Set kitchen rules, such as always remembering to wash hands and not touching
sharp kitchen tools and hot stoves.
- Remind your kids to be careful when using kitchen appliances with blades
such as blenders, food processors, or anything dangerous.
- Let your kids know that some kitchen tasks are for grown ups, and some
are for children.
RING THE DINNER BELL
Dinner time used to be a sacred family time never to be missed. While it
can be tricky to get everyone at the same time these days, it’s
still important for family bonding. Even if you can’t have family
dinners together every night of the week, strive to have meals as a family
when you can. Some of the best memories you will cherish with your family
are those times spent enjoying a meal together and sharing parts of your day.