When your kids are young it is fun to have them in the kitchen helping you pour and stir. The photos are cute, the flour on the floor and sprinkles all the way to the bathroom are adorable, and the memories are precious! As the kids get older, it is still fun to get them in the kitchen, but it is also important. The earlier they learn to cook, to bake, to value food and healthy ingredients the better chance they have of making good food choices as teens and adults.
Kitchen time with kids is an opportunity to teach them about recipes, ingredients, measurements, baking, boiling, steaming and broiling. As kids grow they develop a relationship with food and rather than it always being a battle ground, cooking with your kids allows them fun time in the kitchen to learn. Being a part of the process of meal preparation will give them pride at the dinner table and may entice them to try new things, to experiment with tastes and flavours and empower them to make good eating choices.
I have always had my kids in the kitchen, mainly because I had to. Sometimes they were literally wrapped around my legs as I tried to feed our family of 5, but mostly watching me prepare dinner was entertainment for them from their high chair as they chased peas around their tray. As they got bigger they stood on a chair pulled up to the counter while I chopped and stirred and soon I was giving them small tasks like assembling a whole lasagna once the ingredients were ready.
Kids of all ages love to help in the kitchen. What we see as a daily chore they see as fun play time with mom or dad. Even doing the dishes! Have you ever asked an 8 year old that can now see over the counter to wash a few dishes for you? Hot soapy water, a scrub brush, a cloth and all these fun shapes I can play with??? Of course they see this as a good time!
It may take a little longer to get the task of dinner making done, but by including your kids in the process they become engaged in the meal, more interested in it once it’s on the table, proud they were a part of it and eager to try another recipe the next time.
Start small with fun things they like to eat such as muffins or healthy apple oat bars before moving on to bigger meals, but always give the kids as many of the tasks as you can, even dishes!! They really do love to help and the learning along the way is the icing on the cake!