Full disclosure, I don’t have kids (yet), but I did grow up 7 and 10 years older than my siblings and babysat all through high school. I’ve spent a lot of time with kids, and I enjoy being in the kitchen generally.
Maybe you’re feeling a bit flat or uninspired when it comes to cooking lately? It feels like such a chore. But you love your kids and value your family time. Maybe you're a mum or dad that would like to teach their kids life skills and be a good role model… and isn't that effing fantastic?! I wish there were more of you.
Maybe you’re an aunty or uncle, god-parent, babysitter and you’re looking for something to do next time you're together.
Broadening their palate
Appreciating the chef
Appreciating the ingredients
Learning how to plan and time things
Learning about safety i.e. knife skills, hot surfaces
Gaining confidence, feeling respected and valued
Watching chemistry in action
Time to talk and bond
Building a skill
A sense of achievement when it’s complete
Learning about constructive criticism and how to improve next time
Here’s my tips to get kids in the kitchen:
1) Ask them what they want to try, what their favourite foods are, what they’d like to make. Let them dream a little, and feel like they’re in the drivers seat. They appreciate it when you treat them like a grown up usually. Obviously this depends on age and their experience, use your best judgement on how much control you give them and what you’ll make together. Lasagne from scratch is probably a little more challenging than say spaghetti bolognaise with store-bought pasta.
2) Take them shopping to buy ingredients, if you have time.
3) Carve out a time to prep the meal. Put music on, make it a light and fun environment. Be patient, don’t raise your voice, and let them voice any frustrations. Always supervise.
4) Remember to teach the cleaning up part.
5) Sit and eat the meal together, discuss how it went, the things that went well and maybe there were things that could be altered next time. Let their minds get creative with flavour combos too.
As their skills increase, you can try increasing the ingredients, using harder recipes, or more elements to the dish, inviting more people to eat it.
And above all, have fun with it. Create lasting positive memories with your kids and the bonus is that learn something from it.
I promise if you start easy like making a cake, and eat it together, it will end on a positive note. Even if it doesn’t look the prettiest. Coz what kid doesn’t like cake?!