As a parent, at times it can be nice to entertain the idea of the kids doing the cooking. Especially after having come home from a hard day at work it’s never very nice knowing that you have to cook a meal for your kids, especially if there’s a chance that they will be ungrateful for it.
Unfortunately, though, you can’t really leave the entire meal preparation to the children, at least not until they reach a certain age and are able to cook on their own. What you can do, however, is get your children involved in the process of meal preparation and teach them basic cooking skills.
Why do this, and what are the benefits for you? Here are some quick ways in which getting your kids to help cook can help you:
- If your child is a fussy eater, then getting them to help cook will mean they’ll be happier to eat whatever is being prepared, especially if you let them choose some of the ingredients.
- It can be a great way to encourage healthy eating. If you ensure that the dishes you prepare contain enough vegetables and healthy foods, it will set a good example.
- It can save you time. At first they may be “more of a hindrance than a help,” as the saying goes, but after a while if you are able to trust them with certain parts of cooking, it can really help to speed things up.
- You will be teaching your children necessary skills for when they grow up, from a young age.
Teaching Then the Tools of the Trade
What is the best way to get your children to cook? Unless your child has a natural flare for cooking, they may not necessarily enjoy it, so it may seem hard to get them to take part, especially if they are not used to helping out around the house.
This is the first thing you have to change. If you introduce the idea of them helping you in the kitchen, eventually it will become a customary thing and they won’t complain. This is especially try if you make it fun and interesting. By using their curious nature for learning, it shouldn’t be too hard to achieve if you go about it in the right way.
The second way you can do this is to get the right tools. While you can’t necessarily expect your children to figure out how to use certain tools straight away, especially if they are at all unsafe, you can at least introduce them to the tools. If you are using meat slicers, for example, by showing them the chefs choice meat slicer and other high quality products that you own, you can introduce them to the things they will be using in the future to make things easier. As they grow, they will also become more interested in what tools are available to them, and will be invested in knowing that they are using the best meat grinders and the highest quality tools in the kitchen. Through this, they will understand that it is important to use the best in order to make the best.
Increase the Fun
The third way to get your children active in helping to prepare family meals is also fairly simple–increase the fun they have. This may not necessarily be easy, but a good way of doing it is simply including more people in the process. If you have several kids, then this can be an ideal way of going about this. Simply get a child and their siblings together to make a meal. This way it should be more fun, and as we all know, “many hands make light work.”
Even if you only have one child, then this can still be easily done, and maybe even to a better standard, by getting friends involved. If you tell your child that they are allowed to invite a friend over to help cook, then this will make cooking even more fun for them, meaning they’ll be more than happy to help you in the future. All of this will add up, making it a great way to ground them in healthy eating.
Photo by akiko@flickr