Photo Taken by Jenn Smith [Copyright 2014]
Recently, I was asked by one of my friends, with kids, if I cook with my kids. In response I said I did, and then I was asked for recipes to share. At first I was confused, and then I realized, she must think I have a bunch of Pinterest ideas & recipes I use only for when my kids want to cook with me. So I explained to her that I don’t have any “kid friendly” recipes because I take anything I’m cooking and make it kid friendly.
Afterwards, I starting thinking about this more and realized she is not the first of my friends to ask me this question. I forget that may not be something a lot of parents do. My mother was always having us help in her daily routine. For several reasons. 1. It helped us realize how to do things and 2. it helped her keep an eye on us when we were younger.
So once I started having children, I did the same thing. Even when my kids were babies they got a bowl and spoon to play with in their high chair. Then as toddlers, they stood on chair next to me and helped add in ingredients. I always have found a way to involve them and to be quite honest, it’s helped as they have gotten older. They ask to help me now, and listen to instructions (most of the time).
When I do talk to other parents about having the kids help and explain what I do, usually I’m told, “I don’t have them help because it’s too stressful” or “It’s easier if I just do it”. The truth is, yes sometimes it can be a stressful, and yes it can be easier if you do it yourself, but the time spent with them and things that you are teaching them make that little bit of extra work, effort and time worth it.
After this recent inquiry, I thought I should actually write a post about this. So here is a list of things your kids can do with you to help in the kitchen. They are not in any age order, because I have learned age has far less to do with it and it has more to do with the maturity of your child and what you’re comfortable having them do.
When frying anything, they can help with the flouring (this is especially great for much younger kids, if you’re OK with a mess).
Flipping (pancakes, burgers, anything with a spatula or tongs)
Mixing eggs for scrambled eggs
Add ingredients (for younger kids you measure them and they add, for older kids, have them read the recipe and measure, and you double-check before they add it)
Mixing everything together (if you’re using a mixer and you have younger children, really watch them and help them out so they don’t hurt themselves)
Scooping and dropping cookies (even if you’re using a spoon you can help the younger ones with the portion size).
Pushing the button (when you have to use a food processor, blender or anything else with an on/off “switch” your tiny ones love pushing buttons, just make sure they understand when to start so you don’t end up with food all over your walls).
Filling a pot with water
Rinsing the veggies/fruit/berries
Making and mixing the marinade for meats
then pouring it in the bag/bowl over the meat
For those who remember this commercial… Shake and bake 😉
Photo Taken by Jenn Smith [Copyright 2016]
I could really go on but you could really take this list and adjust it to other things you do in the kitchen. The important things is having them in the kitchen. It will help with the stress of trying to keep track of them and your cooking at the same time. It gets them involved in the cooking process, which honestly really does help with them eating more of the food you make. My youngest is the pickiest eater of all, but when my kids help in the kitchen, my youngest is way more likely to try it and like it, seriously.
It doesn’t have to stop at the kitchen, this could also go for laundry, house cleaning, hmmm I think I see another post in my future… 😉
Well, what are you waiting for? Go cook or bake with your kids! And please feel free to comment and share your experience. Enjoy!