Getting your kids in the kitchen can be a challenge! When I was young, I was a terrible cook – I mean, I burned water. Yes, it can be done if you forget about it long enough. My husband is an excellent cook and I’m really great at following a recipe, so between the two of us, I hope we can get our kids to not only be able to feed themselves and others, but have some fun in the kitchen while doing it! With our oldest only two years away from having to feed himself on a regular basis, I am making a real effort to getting everyone helping in meal prep!
How to get them involved:
Meal planning is my nemesis, but a necessary evil. If I don’t plan, we eat cereal…
When I meal plan, I ask one or all of the kids to pick a meal they would like to make for dinner. I offer two or three choices that are easy to make, and possibly offer a new skill to learn. When you give them a choice of meal they’re already invested. Whoever is the “meal helper” has to look at the recipe and tell me what we need for the meal. Once it’s time to cook, the first thing we do is read through the whole recipe – start to finish. I’m only there as a supervisor and assign the jobs to the big kids and little kids. Even the littlest kids can help – they make excellent mixers!
Give them a “Signature” recipe.
Nothing fancy, but my oldest son’s “go to” recipe is for a simple potato soup. It gives him confidence when he makes it, but I also make sure to push him outside of his comfort zone with cooking.
Try not to step in
The only time that I really step in is when something is potentially dangerous, e.g. advanced for their skill (knife control, oven safety), raw or under-cooked food, etc. It’s REALLY hard when they are making a “mistake” to not jump right in and correct them, but I gently remind the one in charge to read the instructions again.
Above all, try to have fun!
Last week my oldest daughter chose biscuits and gravy (please no mom judgement on our canned biscuits and mix gravy). It’s her favorite meal and while she is a pro at whisking, it gave us a chance to work on browning meat and other new skills.