The kitchen should be the hub of your home where family members spend time together. It’s where all the fun stuff happens like cooking and eating, and there’s no reason why kids can’t play a big role in all of it. In fact, it’s more important than ever to include kids in the kitchen so that families can further their bond. With so many distractions from the Internet and video games, it’s all too easy for families to become fractured while spending time in different rooms. You should always make it a point to include the kids when you can, and teaching them about cooking gives them valuable lessons. Not only do they get a chance to help with daily meal preparation, you can show them what healthy eating is all about. This is where lifelong lessons are taught as kids come away with valuable information they can use as they grow older. If the alternative is letting kids sit in their room eating junk food and looking at Facebook at all the time, you can see how important it is to make family time a priority.
Here are some ways you can get your kids involved in the kitchen process:
Recipe research – kids want to spend time on the Internet, why not allow them to do so in a way that’s actually productive? Internet is actually a wonderful resource when you use it in a smart way. When it comes to recipe research, you can have a lot of great ideas at the touch of a fingertip. This is one area where kids won’t mind helping you at all if you send them on a mission to find recipes for the whole family. You can also take a more traditional approach by putting out a few real-life cookbooks and browsing through them with your children.
Food prep – you’re obviously not going to let your children handle an indoor grill or a deep fat fryer. But there are perfectly safe ways they can help with food preparation. It’s also a good time to teach them basic safety measures especially as it pertains to kitchen tools and sharp objects. There are lots of ways kids can help ranging from peeling vegetables to making a marinade. You’ll have to supervise them at first but chances are there learned quickly and become experts at these smaller tasks.
Grocery Shopping – here’s a really fun way you can get every member of the family in on the action. You should make grocery shopping a family affair while taking advantage of coupons and weekly deals. You might have to give younger children a brush up on groceries etiquette and how to behave in public, but it’s usually not a problem. Small kids love being able to sit in the car while they’re wheeled around.
Setting the table – a surprising number of families don’t even bother to set the table anymore. Some of them eat in front of the television or in different rooms completely. Bring back some tradition by having your kids help to set the dining room table. You can even give them the task of making up simple decorations or a centerpiece every once in a while.
Doing the Dishes – one of the best chores that kids can learn early on is doing the dishes. And don’t worry if they don’t seem to like it, normal kids (and adults) will usually hate doing the dishes. But it’s a good chance to teach responsibility and to show everyone that while eating is the fun part of the process, there are other more tedious tasks that go along with cooking as well.
Teach while you cook – in the overall scheme of things, doing things in the kitchen is a great chance to find all kinds of teachable moments. You can show your kids healthy eating as you prepare recipes. Explain why you use a certain ingredient instead of something else. Show them techniques related to different styles of cooking or explore multicultural versions of popular dishes.