So the busy mom side of my brain says it’s easier to keep the kids out of the kitchen. They make too much of a mess, they take too long and get in the way and we are usually trying to get out the door to attend some other evening activity.
But the dietitian side says getting kids of all ages involved in the kitchen is really important and benefits both the busy parents and the kids. Here’s how….
Cooking is a life skill – we all need to eat, every day. So it’s important we all know how to prepare and cook food, preferably healthy food. In my belief it’s never too early or too late to learn. So if you are struggling with what exactly your 2 year old can do to help check out this great resource “Cooking with Kids of Different Ages” from Eatright Ontario.
Cooking is more than just cooking. It involves planning meals, shopping, preparing and cooking the food and then cleaning up. There are jobs that kids can help with at every step. Picking a dinner to make, helping to shop, washing, peeling, and chopping vegetables and fruit, helping with setting the table, clearing the dishes or loading the dishwasher.
Here are some things I have learned over the years while including my daughter.
Involve your kids when you have some time maybe it’s just one night a week and then on the weekend. It doesn’t have to be every night.
A little patience goes a long way. Learning any new skill takes time and kids will be slow and messy. There are a lot of skills to learn and because heat and sharp knives are often involved there are some safety tips that need to be learned too.
Your way is not the only way – this is one I have to remind myself of, frequently. There are many ways to cut up and dice a pepper – no one way is more right.
Try to explain as much as you can so your children can learn, understand and appreciate how food is prepared and cooked. Check out our how to videos showcasing basic cooking skills and recipes.
Happy cooking with your kids!