Sometimes, children make the worst companions in the kitchen. They can become a nuisance that forces you to focus on taming them rather than the food you are preparing. However, there is nothing better than having them around while cooking and it is even better when they can give a helping hand with the little they can do.
Getting your children involved in the kitchen creates a strong bond with you and also unearths their passion that you may not know about. If it’s time for a kitchen remodel, as a parent you may want to think about redesigning the space to a more children-friendly space. This way, they can be encouraged to participate in cooking more. Cooking also helps your children appreciate the food you bring to the table and also natures a sense of responsibility which is essential as they grow up. Getting them involved in the kitchen may not be so easy but these 10 tips will help you break barriers.
Take Them Grocery Shopping
Children will enjoy cooking with you more if they see you choose your groceries. They may jump around and be grumpy when you tell them not to touch this and that but once you buy some of the items they like and explain to them why you are buying one item and not the other, they will come to terms with what you usually bring to the table. They also get the chance to understand your kitchen so that when you bring them with you to prepare food, they know what to expect. It makes it easier to allocate them tasks they will enjoy doing which makes it easier to have them around. Taking your children to shop for groceries also teaches them to be responsible among other skills they will need throughout their lives.
Buy Them Children’s Kitchen Tools
Many people argue that there is no point in buying kitchen tools for children because they eventually outgrow them. However, after bringing your children to the kitchen, you will realize that those tools are essential for their safety. Children’s tools also allow them to have fun when cooking with you. You can start simple with things like kid’s kitchen knives for chopping, non-slip stools that allow them to reach the sink and kid’s aprons. You don’t have to buy the most expensive; just the simple ones that will serve the purpose and not mean a big loss if they are broken or when they outgrow them. In addition to that, you can provide them with a personal space in the kitchen where they can experiment with their little tools. It would not only keep them interested but would also help them learn the dishes you cook, passively. To implement this, however, you might require a kitchen remodeling done according to your kid’s interest.
Be Both Chef And Teacher
Bringing your children to the kitchen gives you an opportunity to bond with them and teach them a side of you they probably don’t see that often. As you prepare their favourite meals, you have to explain the steps to them and work on measurements and the preparation with them. If you don’t make it interactive, they may get bored and the project won’t work. It may take longer to get meals done and you may also answer more questions than you are used to but you will love the results. Show your children how to handle simple tasks such as washing and rinsing vegetables and fruits, arranging dishes and pots among other things they can handle according to their age.
Buy Them Kid’s Cookbooks
Your kitchen should also be your child’s first cooking class and to make that happen, you have to buy them kids cookbooks. Cookbooks are actually very educative and they may just bring out the chef in your child that you haven’t noticed. There are cookbooks in the market for all age ranges including teenagers that will teach your child all kitchen tasks from baking to vegan diets. They allow the child to learn and apply simple recipes and also know their way around kitchen tools and appliances from a young age. As they pick up new recipes, you can go about applying the lesson with them.
Embrace Their Passion
As your children get more involved in the kitchen, you will notice trends and just like you, there are meals they will enjoy cooking more than others. You will also notice creativity unique to your child and that helps you identify their passion. Whatever they love doing may not be the most impressive to you but you don’t have to shut them down. Encouraging your child’s passion in the kitchen, even if it is as simple as chopping interesting designs with fruits and vegetables helps them improve and get encouraged to do better. That will make them come with you to the kitchen the next time you ask.
Alternate Your Menus
Children like trying new things and their curiosity won’t be served right if you don’t offer them new projects in your kitchen. You should expose your children to as many safe recipes as you can lay your hands on so that their skills around different types of meals can be polished. You don’t even have to do an overhaul of your kitchen to get it done; Just expose them to different simple projects every day and watch their performance. For example, if you tried different baking recipes in one week, you can move to vegetables and salads in the next and buy different foods for different projects so that it doesn’t become monotonous.
Be Patient With Them
With children, you can always expect mistakes but the biggest problem is that they usually lose interest especially if they think something else is more fun than cooking with you. When they make mistakes, you may be tempted to scream or send them away but that will kill your project before it bears fruits. You have to be tolerant and teach patiently allowing some mistakes to slide. You can’t teach them everything in one sitting either, you have to allow them time to grasp one concept after another as they go. As a parent, you will spot and understand your child’s abilities and allow them to learn at their own pace.
Combine School Projects With Your Kitchen Training
School education has a great influence on shaping kids’ minds and perceptions. It is probably why parents do extensive research on resources like School Guide before they enroll their kids in school. Extra-curricular clubs can promote creativity, be it at school or home. Just like children are given projects at school, you can also give your child projects at home. Combining school education and kitchen projects is one of the perfect ways of getting children involved in the kitchen. Teach children how to make get their measurements right and make their own food with your guidance. You can start with simple stuff such as making candy bars using sugar and food colour to making juice in the kitchen. If you can get your child to do their own projects in the kitchen, they will be more creative and make things that they will be proud of.
Praise Their Little Achievements
Little is much if your child has done it and that is the mentality that you should bring with you to the kitchen when it comes to kids. To get them to come to the kitchen, you have to make them feel genuinely appreciated. As they make those perfect choppings, even if they are not that perfect, appreciate them and even reward them with a bite of their favourite food before food reaches the table. With children, those little praises and gifts go a long way in encouraging them to love something.
Make It A Habit
Consistency is the only path to making good chefs out of your children. You may encounter difficulties along the way as they may not enjoy cooking as much as you may want them to. That is why you have to give them a reason to come with you to the kitchen every day. Give them tasks that they enjoy and also make some rules for that to work. You may have to be strict and hard on them sometimes, but it has to be in moderation. As you turn it into a lifestyle, they will come to see it as an essential part of their life just like school and you will get there in the end.