Do you remember helping your parents in the kitchen when you were little? Getting your own cookbooks for your birthday and being keen to get stuck in trying new things? Standing up on a chair to help stir, licking the bowl after baking and eagerly waiting for your creations to come out of the oven?
Today’s children seem to do this much less. A cookbook is less exciting when there are tablets and games consoles to explore. Some children have never baked a cake or helped their parents prepare meals.
Helping out in the kitchen helps kids to learn more about food and nutrition. It exposes them to more foods, teaches them the importance of a healthy diet and gives them a keen interest in food. Children who enjoy cooking are less likely to be fussy eaters and more likely to try new things.
They’re more likely to grow up eating a healthy diet and less likely to struggle with obesity both in childhood and later life. Kids that cook, turn into adults that cook.
But, how do you get your kids cooking more when the temptations of electronic devices are so strong? Let’s take a look at how to get kids cooking.
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Make it Easy
When it comes to cooking with kids, you need a heavy dose of common sense. A two-year-old shouldn’t be chopping with large knives or opening the oven. Think about their age and maturity and what you trust them to do.
Use your instincts. Then, make it easier for them. An electric skillet that can be moved to a lower surface is easier to use than a stove top. Invest in some safety equipment and a small stool for them to stand on. You might also want to get them fun aprons and other kitchenware that appeals to them.
Look Online for Recipes
Involved them in the Whole Process
Once you’ve found a recipe, write a shopping list and go shopping together. Don’t just call them into the kitchen when it’s time to cook, start building up their interest from the start and involve them in every stage of the process, not just the bits you want them to help with.
Try Fun Things
Some meals are complicated, with lots of ingredients. Others have very little active time, you just throw everything into a pot and wait. Neither of these really appeal to kids. They get confused and bored and quickly lose interest.
Try something fun, like a pizza. They can knead the dough, have a go at spinning it into bases, choose their toppings, and spread everything on. They can try different shapes and sizes and try crazy combinations of toppings. It’s fun, and there’s plenty to do.
Introduce New Ingredients Slowly
Pizzas are also great because they let you introduce new ingredients to something that they love. Don’t overwhelm them with new meals and ingredients that they’ve never heard of all in one go. Instead, start adding different ingredients to meals they’re already comfortable with.
You can also make it a challenge. Go to the shops together and challenge them to find something they haven’t tried before. Then, spend time looking for a recipe and cooking it together. Introduce new things slowly and always try to make it fun.
Praise Their Efforts
Remember, your child isn’t a top chef. This is new to them. There’s going to be a lot of mess, things might get broken, and not everything will work. Don’t get frustrated with them. This will put them off.
Praise their efforts, ignore the mess and keep encouraging them. Try to have fun together without worrying.
The very best way to praise their creations is to eat it. Sit down and eat what you’ve made together as a family. Show them how you can enjoy things more when you’ve made them yourself. Try to make this a regular family cooking day, and make sure you always eat together, preferably around a table without distractions.