Get Your Kids in the Kitchen
Do you remember learning to cook? Were you an adult? Or did you learn to cook as a child?
No matter when you learned to cook, you know that cooking is an important skill. But if you can get your children in the kitchen when they are young, you can help them develop a love of cooking that will last a lifetime.
If you have reluctant helpers or have never really asked your kids to help you prepare a meal, here are some ideas to get your children to be active participants in the kitchen.
- Start With Something Simple: Starting with something small and simple is the key to many things, and this includes getting your children to help in the kitchen. You might start them with plating a small snack – such as cheese and crackers or a fruit tray – where you’ve already cut everything up for them. Then have them serve this snack to family and friends. Or, simply have them dump all of the ingredients for a smoothie into the blender. It doesn’t need to be fancy to grab their interest.
- Take Them Grocery Shopping: While most parents would prefer to go grocery shopping alone, bringing your children with you can spark their curiosity. Let them choose new fruits and vegetables that they want to try. Let them look in the aisles to find ingredients that they want to eat. You might be surprised by what they choose.
- Practice Good Habits: If you want your kids to be good helpers in the kitchen, you must establish good habits with them from the start. Demonstrating hand washing and proper knife skills with them will help set expectations.
- Make Them Meal Prep Helpers: While you may not want smaller children working with knives or standing over a hot stove, there are still lots of things they can do to help. Let them read the recipe to you and gather all of the equipment you will need. Have them get the ingredients out of the refrigerator and the pantry. Get them a stool so they can see all of the action as you cut and dice vegetables or other things.
- Allow Them to Measure and Pour and Stir and Mix: Teaching kids to measure and pour and stir and mix are great skills, especially for younger children. It gets them actively involved in the actual making of a dish.
- Have Them Plan a Meal: As children get more comfortable in the kitchen and their skills progress, you can have your children plan an entire meal. They can go through cookbooks or search online, or perhaps you can teach them to prepare a family favorite. Let them choose what the entire family will eat!
- Buy Them Cookbooks: Cookbooks are a great way to get kids excited about the kitchen. There are books designed for young children or more advanced books as they become more proficient. The library is also a great place to find cookbooks if you’re looking!
- Create a Video: With the ever-increasing popularity of YouTube and other social media, if you have teens, they may enjoy making a cooking video – just like those Tasty videos, for example. The videos you create can teach a dish step-by-step, and as a family, you can add your own personal touches to the video with music and subtitles.
- Make Cleanup Fun: Nobody likes cleanup. But, it’s an important part of helping in the kitchen. Do what you can to make this a fun time! Play some music, act silly – whatever it takes to get the job done.
When your kids start helping in the kitchen, they will learn some valuable skills. And, as a family, you’ll spend some quality time together – plus enjoy some delicious dishes!