We love kids in the kitchen. It turns the chore of cooking into a family activity, and we’ve found that when kids help make dinner they are much more likely to eat what’s served. So how do you do it?
This week we’re sharing our favorite tips for kids of all ages.
1) Give them a job
Big kids can be responsible for an entire job. (Make salad. Cook the pasta sauce.) Littler kids can stir and the tiny ones can add things to the bowl and be the official taste testers. Whatever their role, they’ll be proud to have helped.
2) Talk about what you’re doing
Explain what different ingredients you’re adding, invite them to taste them raw and have them describe them, talk about why you chose that ingredient. It’ll make the process interactive, and might give you insights into how they experience food!
3) Keep the knives away
Kids love to reach up the counter, so keep your prep work away from their workstation so the kids can explore freely. (Just another reason why Meez makes it easy… no knives!)
4) Let them plan the menu
Let the kids choose the dinner, as well as have them help make it. You can set the boundaries you want, such as it has to a vegetable, a grain, a protein, and you’ll be educating them on balanced eating, as well. (If your kids are old enough, have them plan and cook the meal on their own. They’ll probably make a mess and ask you 29 questions along the way, but it’s the way they’ll learn, and they’ll be proud of themselves.)
5) Have everything ready
If you’ve done the “boring” work of prepping and organizing, then kids can help with the fun part: the mixing, the smelling good smells off the stove and taste testing along the way.
6) Set the table
Having kids set the table is a job they can do very young and take pride in the meal.
7) Time patrol
Put kids in charge of the time, setting it, giving you a countdown, alerting you when it goes off. Whatever suits their age and their abilities. They’ll enjoy being in charge.
8) Put them in charge of supplies
Give the kids a list of what’s needed for a recipe and have them find everything. Young kids know a surprising amount about where you keep things, and can easily be given directions if they’re not sure. Older kids can learn more about the difference between the various tools and implements you use to create a meal.
9) Stay relaxed
The kids won’t make the meal the way you would, and it’ll probably take a little longer. Take the long view and remember it’s great family time, not to mention teaching them great life skills!