Cooking with your kids.

It sounds so wonderful and fun, but it also sounds like a mess and not the greatest of times.

So how do we make it better?

Well like I said in the post Top 5 things to stop doing as a parent in 2022 we need to first accept the fact it will be messy. And accept the fact that that’s all part of the process. I mean Is it that big of a deal if your kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it? When the result is happy kids and yummy food?

I say it’s not.

For a long time, I dreaded the thought of the kids being in the kitchen with me. Not because I don’t want my kids around, but because it was just easier if they weren’t in my way. But what good does that do? Besides, make them think Mommy is the only one that can cook?

Yeah, dinner or whatever meal I was making was always made without issue. Does that make memories with my kids though? No. Does that teach them how to cook for themselves one day? Also no. I had to remind myself that the example I’m setting now, is the one that moulds them as adults. I would hate to think my kids wouldn’t cook with their kids one day, all because I didn’t with them.

Now I’m not telling you, bring the kids in and get them to help you cook a five-star meal. That would be a little ridiculous. However, if you’re doing some baking. Making snacks, sandwiches and simple things like that. There’s not a reason they can’t help in some way or another every so often. One of my two-year-old favourite things to do is sit at the counter, and help me pack her older sibling’s lunches each night. It’s something so small because makes her so happy.

Of course she needs a snack for herself too.

This also gives me the chance to show my children healthy habits. If your household is anything like mine chicken nuggets and French fries are probably a fan favourite. (I mean they are pretty yummy) That being said though, I found my kids asking for them EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

As much as I would love to just give them what they want and make an easy dinner like that. Not exactly optional, but once they got to chance to help make dinner, chicken nuggets and fries were not as requested anymore. There are way more things out there, that are much more fun to make. My six-year-old loves taco night for the sheer reason she gets to build her taco by herself.

But what happens when they can’t help?

There are going to be nights they can’t help with making dinner, I mean not every meal we eat can be child-friendly when it comes to cooking. So, what do I do in those instances? I ask my little helpers to do other things that can still make them feel like they are helping with dinner. (yes, I will use this until they no longer want to help me.) When they can’t help me cook, they can still take plates and cups to the table, they can take anything that has ended up there throughout the day off and away. My five-year-old always says this makes him feel like he’s playing restaurant.

So we roll with that, now helping Mom and learning good habits has turned into a game that they can bring with them throughout life. I mean honestly, sometimes it can make the responsibility of cooking dinner, feel a little less daunting when it’s become something fun for your kids. (or at least in this moms opinion) Plus the extra set of hands can come in handy, and they might be a little more inclined to provided help in the kitchen when they’re older.

Don’t worry I won’t leave you high and dry.

Did you think I wasn’t going to tell you some of my favourites to have the kids help me cook? That would just be rude! I got you don’t worry.

My number one go-to when the kids want to cook with me is bread. I know sounds like it’s a lot of work, however! I found a recipe a couple of years ago that has become an absolute staple in our home, not only is it delicious but it’s also only 4 ingredients. (Artisan bread like I said only 4 ingredients!)

Our second go-to is Costco’s chocolate chunk cookies. We buy the box of 120 frozen ones for $26 and have enough cookies to last us a few months… Depending on how often the kids ask to make cookies. Having the box handy has made making cookies so much easier, we just preheat the oven the kids lay the cookies out however they want and bam. Kids baked cookies they’re happy and there’s not a giant mess for me to clean up.

The last go-to I will mention for today is tacos. Now they can’t exactly help cook the meat or cut up the fixings, they can put it all together though. That seems to be just as fun, some nights we will do walking tacos and take a bag of Doritos crush them up, mix the meat. Dish it out and add all the good stuff on top! It doesn’t look overly appetizing… I think it looks a little like wet dog food. But oh boy, it is very yummy!

Now I’m not saying you have to cook with your kids, but I think you should give it a try. Even just by letting them pour the milk into their cereal, it’s still something. You never know you might just have more fun than you thought. I’m sure your kids will love it, and they might just learn a thing or two as well. If it all goes south, the kitchen is left a mess and the food doesn’t turn out. Don’t see it as a fail, see it as a learning experience for you too and try something new next time. You’re doing your best, and even just trying to have your kids cook with you will make all the difference.

The first few times were messy, but each time she gets so much better at it.

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