Being in the kitchen with my mother and grandmother were some of my favourite childhood memories! I loved seeing how they sliced and diced, sauteed and grilled a multitude of different ingredients to create beautiful and delicious meals.
However, I realize that not all kids grow up with the fascination of food as I did. So how do you foster an appreciation of food in kids and get them to help out in the kitchen?
Here are my top 5 ways to get kids cooking in the kitchen:
- Start with a recipe they know: picking one of your kids’ favourite recipes is a sure-fire way to pique their interest in cooking. The other benefit is that they know what the dish is supposed to look like at the end, so that familiarity helps.
- Have lots of time: cooking with kids takes longer than you think. You’ll have to explain things more and kids will take longer to complete tasks. So make sure you have lots of time to make the recipe and don’t feel stressed to get things done in a particular time frame.
- Let kids make decisions: all kids want to be independent and cooking is a great way to do so! To do this, it is best to provide a couple of options that kids can choose from. The reason is for this is if there are too many options this means more indecisiveness! – e.g. would you like to use macaroni or penne pasta shapes?
- Embrace the mess: every parent will agree that kids make a mess. But that’s ok! Part of making a mess is having those creative juices flowing and the other part is teaching kids how to clean up. Another vital skill of being in the kitchen!
- Encourage and congratulate: No matter how the food turns out, encourage and congratulate your kids on having a go. We were all beginners at one time so encourage them to get back in the kitchen to try again (even if the food didn’t turn out quite right this time). Teaching kids to try again is teaching great life habits!