Parenting

Involving Your Kid in the Cooking Process Can Be Fun!

making cookiesWhat's more special than a birthday cake you make for your mom? One that YOUR kid helps you make. Trust me. Nothing in my life has tasted as sweet as the s'mores cheesecake that my daughter and I made for my mother's birthday a few weeks back -- because we did it together

So I'm surprised to hear from friends that they don't let their kids into the kitchen with them. "Oh no," they say, "they'll just make another mess for me to clean up!" OK, maybe. Or maybe you're just not giving them a chance? Cooking with your kids can be a lot more fun than cooking alone if you do it right:

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1. Pull up a stool. It doesn't matter what you're cooking, sometimes all that you need to do is give your kids an up-close-and-personal view, and that's enough. They can ask questions about what you're doing. You can talk about their day. It's a nice, simple time to just be a family. And if you want them to lend a hand, let's just say a kid who can actually stand right in front of the counter and get close to the task at hand drops a lot less on the floor. Trust me.

2. Clothing optional. If your kids are still young enough to sit around the house in their undies, then by all means, kick the clothing to the curb. If you're a "put that shirt on" kind of Mom or Dad, then by all means, pull out the play clothes and/or a kiddie apron. If you're not worrying about scrubbing stains, you'll have a lot more fun.

3. Give them the kitchen scissors. You don't need knives as much as you think you do! A few pairs of kitchen scissors are a heckuva lot safer for you kids to use, and it lets them practice those skills that will help them in the classroom.

4. Let 'em decorate. Pretend you're running a fancy restaurant and let them garnish the plate (who cares if it's with ketchup). Let them add sprinkles to the cookies. Or present them with a bowl of fresh peas to make smiles in the mashed potatoes. Show them how they can do arts and crafts anywhere, and you'll have them hooked.

5. Pull out the "yucky" stuff. Got a picky eater? Not anymore. Letting them take part in cooking the foods they claim to "hate" (oh, how I despise that word) puts them in a whole new light. Don't be surprised if your little green-o-phobe can't get enough of that strawberry and spinach salad.

What are your best tips for making cooking with the kids fun for the whole fam?

 

Image by Jeanne Sager

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