Cooking with kids can be fun but it can also be quite daunting if you are not prepared. Here are a few simple things you can do to make cooking with your children stress free.
Prepare: Before you even call your child into the kitchen, make sure that you have everything ready for a smooth and fun baking experience. Start the oven (if necessary), have the recipe out and available, and gather ALL of the ingredients needed.
Measure Ahead: Depending on your child's age, measure and lay everything out in the order they are needed.* For older children or children just learning their numbers, this may be a great opportunity for them to pour and measure with you, but this is time consuming and requires lots of patience.
*If you run out of measuring spoons or cups, you can always measure and pour into other containers.
Allow for Mistakes: Mistakes happen (especially when allowing your child to measure) and that's ok. By leaving extra ingredients aside, mistakes can be easily fixed. If a mistake is made, make sure your child knows that it is okay and encourage them to try again.
Don't Stress about the Mess
Let your child pour and mix. There will be a mess, just remember your child is having a blast. You can always clean up later. Have your child place the dishes in the sink as they use them. This keeps the counter clear and makes clean up less overwhelming. Then while the food is baking the two of you can empty the sink together!
When you are ready to start cooking have your child wash their hands and explain the first step. If your child does not like to get messy, be sure to have some gloves handy. My daughter doesn’t mind getting messy but enjoys wearing gloves anyway. You can make this experience extra special and super fun by wearing aprons & chefs hats and pretending to be cooks in a fancy restaurant!
IF your recipe calls for:
· The ingredients to set for a while, maybe play a game or clean up together while you wait.
· An ingredient to be melt or defrosted, maybe let them push the buttons on the microwave.
· Eggs and your child is on the younger side I would recommend cracking the eggs ahead of time and placing them in a bowl.
Sometimes it can be hard to let go of control in the kitchen, especially with kids, but once you push past that it is so much fun.
What are some tricks that work for you?