Friday chat: 6 tips for cooking with kids everyday

November 20, 2015

tips for cooking with kids everyday

Do you cook with your kids?  I don’t mean the odd cake or planned baking time but involving them in everyday cooking, everyday?  I love cooking and cook most days but I just didn’t enjoy it as much with Anya because of the mess and slowness that it brought.  I used to despair at the extra cleaning up, the extra time, the extra everything.  A simple task that was supposed to take 10 minutes would take five times that! 

Then I started thinking about it and realised that cooking with Anya could be a lot of fun if I changed the way I looked at things.  She is interested in cooking (as most kids are) and it would be a real shame not to develop her interest especially when we all know that there are so many benefits of cooking with kids.  So I thought about how I could make our cooking time in to something that we both looked forward to everyday.  Here’s what I did and what anyone can do to make cooking with kids a daily thing that fun for everybody.

tips for cooking with kids

My tips for cooking with kids everyday (without killing them 😉 )

1. Make up your mind to remain patient no matter what.
Before you start, make up your mind to stay patient. This has helped me no end. Taking  a minute beforehand to decide that impatience isn’t an option has made for much happier cooking together times, for Anya and for me.  And after a while,  like me, you will naturally be more patient.

2. Only cook with kids when you have time.
Cooking with kids is always going to take a lot longer than if you did it by yourself.  There will be days when you need to be somewhere or you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry, so just do it yourself on those days.  But when you know you have more time, that’s when you can take a slower pace, keep your patience in check and enjoy the process together.

3. Expect mess.
This used to drive me insane – poor Anya would barely spill a drop and I’d whip out the cloth and clean up after her every move.  I put myself in her shoes and I couldn’t think of anything more irritating than someone cleaning up after you every five seconds
!  So now I accept there will be mess, sometimes a lot of mess and when I feel like reaching for that cloth, I just remind myself of the decision I made before I started cooking – see point 1.

4. Let them lead where possible.
Give them a task that they can be in charge of, without any help from you.  This makes kids feel happy and proud – the look of pride on Anya’s face when she has done something completely by herself and the concentration while she’s doing it is priceless.  It can be as simple or as involved as your child can manage, depending on their age of course.  Things like pouring all the ingredients in to a bowl and mixing or breading homemade fish fingers which is one of Anya’s favourite jobs.

5. Let them express themselves.
If you’re a fan of cooking, you’ll know that it’s one of life’s great pleasures for so many reasons. For me cooking is fun, it’s relaxing and it’s so creative.  This is exactly how kids should be allowed to feel about it too if they are going to enjoy it.  The only way they will feel like this is if they are allowed to express themselves freely, without you giving instructions the whole way.  Let them give ideas on what to cook, suggest extra ingredients that may not have been part of the plan or give ideas on presentation.

6. Think of it as bonding time.
Cooking together with your kids is a great time for bonding but only if you view it as this.  Once you view it as this, cooking becomes such a fun part of your time together and you will come to look forward to it everyday.  Anya and I chat about her day, tell jokes and laugh at the mishaps and spills.  And then when Richard comes home, she excitedly tells him about what she helped make.

These are a few things I’ve done but I’d love to hear from you too. Would you involve your kids in everyday cooking?  Do you have any tips for cooking with kids everyday?

P.S. If you’d like to check out some recipes perfect for kids to get involved with, take a look at these soba noodles or these homemade pizzas or homemade fish fingers

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  • thefolia

    Some great points! Happy creating in the kitchen!

  • Babes about Town

    Very helpful tips Nomita. I’m like you, the thought of the mess (let’s call it chaos) the boys create in the kitchen often puts me off. But it’s so rewarding seeing their pride in helping to make even the simplest of dishes. And I want them to be comfortable in the kitchen, growing up in Nigeria it was only us girls in the kitchen and my brother sitting at the dining table like a king waiting to be served!

    Another huge benefit of kids cooking is that it can totally transform their appetites: Ezra went from not liking avocado at all, to eating avocado and tomato salad — all because he’d gone on a school trip to Wahaca and learned to make guacamole! Now I’ve assigned him to make the guac whenever I do chilli con carne so it’s a win win 🙂 x

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you! You are so right about it helping to make them less fussy eaters. Anya has been a difficult eater since birth and ever since I’ve started involving her more in the kitchen, she is becoming less averse to trying new things – especially if she has had a hand in cooking them. I think cooking is such a pleasure and a creative thing that all kids should be exposed to in big doses. xx

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  • eleni

    i am so excited to have discovered your blog! yours has a very similar theme to mine only yours is ten times better! hahaha. i love the minimalistic approach and the topics. i have already bookmarked it and will definitely be coming back. great work.

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