Involving kids in the kitchen

Emily Dupuche Food Babies Love and Feeding Guide

The preparation of dinner can sometimes be a battle of the wills, especially if your child is tired at the end of a long day. They may just want to be under your feet, playing a game, cuddling you on the couch or are nagging you for things. None of which is conducive to a pleasant or easy dinner prep. Here are a few things I do to help change their attitude towards my ‘busy-ness’ in the kitchen. Not to mention the added advantage of their buy-in to eat dinner.

Get your Gear On
All my kids have their own apron and I have chopping boards and peelers a plenty. When my apron goes on, so does theirs. They love being the sameas me and from an early age I have taught them to peel the veggies. They are not very good at it but are getting better and they love that they are REALLY helping.

Let them help
Involving kids in preparation makes them feel a part of it and also helps to take the mystery out things. Little tasks like plucking off fresh herbs, cutting mushrooms (you can do this with a normal table knife), mashing potatoes or stirring are all great ways of involving them safely.

Let your child own the meal
Dedicate a meal to each child in the family letting them choose which meal is cooked. They also have responsibility for setting the table on their night and being your kitchen assistant.

Make it Mini
Opt for small ramekins of meals like Lasagne allowing your child to layer theirs themselves. Or mini pizzas where they help to spread the topping and then get to eat their own creation.

Be a celebrity chef
Indulge your inner desire to be a TV star and pretend to be a chef on TV talking through what you are doing. You can use funny voices and say silly things making it all very entertaining for your child.

Let them do their own cooking
When what I am doing is to complex or not safe we fall back on the ever popular ‘do my own cooking’. I give them a bowl and a range of ingredients using things like flour, rice, lentils, water, dry spices, my vegie peelings and herb stalks. They chop, measure, add and stir to create wonderful bowls of Gloop that are often then stored in the fridge or put in the oven to cook. Inevitably Sophie ends up setting up the dolls high chair and feeding her babies their dinner. Perfect. Keeps her happy and frees me up to cook the real dinner.

Smell It
I always encourage my children to sniff and taste ingredients, especially herbs and spices so they can start to develop an awareness of flavour profiles and how different ingredients affect the end result. You’ll be amazed at how often they are willing to try a snippet of a raw vegie.

Other great kid-safe tasks in the kitchen include;
Pouring
Sifting
Adding
Stirring
and of course, Licking

Have you got any great tips or tricks you use for involving your kids in the kitchen….?

Written by Emily Dupuche, Food Babies Love

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