Have you ever tried cooking in the kitchen with your kiddos? It can be a bit overwhelming. But I’m here to share some tips to make kitchen bonding a success.
I absolutely love cooking. I love being in the kitchen. I love it even more when my kids join me in the kitchen. I want to pass on my love of the kitchen–and food–to my kids. The best way to do that is to get them involved and share that passion with them.
Cooking with kids does take a little more work and a lot more patience…
Here are some tips to help you enjoy having your kids in the kitchen with you.
1. Set your expectations.
Children have a natural desire to please, but they also get super excited! So if you don’t set your expectations, you are gonna have some crazy kids. By setting expectations, you can maintain a level of control and your children will learn and be able to practice a little self control! I love that after setting my expectations once, I don’t always have to go through all my expectations, because my kids remember. In fact, sometimes my kids will remind me of the expectations.
2. Prepare yourself mentally.
I like to invite my kids to help when I am in a good mood! Sometimes I have to remind myself that “Hey! I enjoy cooking with my kids…” because sometimes it is really hard! Kids take a lot of energy and they make messes even when they are trying to be careful! While I do invite my kids to cook with me several times a week, there are also times when I am too tired, stressed, or just need to get things done quickly.
3. Give yourself a little more time.
I can throw together cookie dough, banana muffins and pizza dough in about 5 minutes. But these are some of my kid’s favorite things to eat. So these are the types of things I invite my kids to cook with me. When they help me, I need to add an additional 15-20 minutes to that time. I’ve learned that it’s easier to just expect it to take longer, than to try and rush it. It is so much more fun when we are all relaxed and enjoying the process, instead of trying to get it done quickly.
4. Keep age and ability in mind.
Don’t have your kid measure something out if they can’t hold the cup up by themselves once its full! Otherwise you are just asking for it! I always try to scaffold as I am teaching. I’ll make sure my hand is right there to help if they can’t hold it up or tip it over the bowl!
5. Contain the mess.
So expect a mess, but remember there are some things you can do to contain the mess. Use bigger bowls so that if there is some sloshing around, it won’t slosh out of the bowl as easily. Make sure kids are using solid utensils. The more flexible they are, the more likely they will bend or won’t stand up under kid’s use.
6. Keep it simple.
If you don’t often cook with your kids in the kitchen, you might want to just keep it simple at first! Choose easy recipes with just a few ingredients. Give your kids simple jobs like pressing buttons, stirring or dumping ingredients after you have measured them out. Eventually you can have kids go find the ingredients, kitchen tools, etc. Soon enough, they’ll be measuring, chopping and cooking over the stove (yikes)… right along with you!
7. Have fun!
I think with any experience your kids will know whether you are enjoying yourself or not. They will feed off your energy! If you can’t have fun while cooking with your kids, take a step back and see what you can do to change up the experience. Chances are if you are not having fun, neither are they!
Even after all these tips, it might seem a little overwhelming… Check out the benefits of cooking with your kiddos and maybe you’ll feel a little more motivated!
Here are some great recipes for kids… and of course they are all breakfast recipes because that is the only time of day I have enough patience for kids in the kitchen! Just kidding. We also like to bake desserts in the late afternoon. Feel free to check out the massive amount of desserts on my blog!