Cooking with Children from Amanda

by Amanda Branham, guest writer

My daughter is that the age where I can put her down while I’m trying to cook. Sure, she might scream, but I never cook anything that takes long enough for it to be a problem. I learned a long time ago that I will never be able to slave over our meals all day in the kitchen.

What I worry about, is what will happen when she can walk and doesn’t stay in the same place that I put her. I involve my daughter in everything I do – her bouncer goes outside with me when I garden, and since I work from home, she is my favorite co-worker. Something tells me that when she is old enough, I will involve her with cooking, too.

So here are some ways to make cooking fun and productive for you and your little buddy.

Choose your food wisely. Pick something that suits your little one’s taste buds and is not complicated to make. Even better, let them decide what they want to cook. This will make them excited to help from the start.

Rachel Lister from Right Start Blog advises to keep things simple. This is something new for your child, so you want to start them off slow. Give them little jobs to make them feel included but not overwhelmed.

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“Toddlers love feeling like they accomplished something and each success will motivate them to keep trying,” Lister says.

Elizabeth from Chobani Champions suggests setting aside plenty of time to get the most of out of your experience. This way, you will not miss out on the special moments you get to share with your child.

“So instead of putting yourself into a stressful, time-crunched situation,” says Elizabeth, “plan to have your kid-friendly kitchen time on a day when you can take it slow.”

Let the kids taste-check the food before you serve it. Now, of course, if you are cooking something with raw ingredients, make sure it is fully cooked before they check. Elizabeth explains that this will give your kids a chance to ask questions about the food they are making.

And what about dessert? Have your little one(s) help you bake a cake and let them use their artistic skills with the frosting. This will make it a lot of fun and they will love to see their art on display.

Cooking with your children can be a little hectic, but it can also be a really positive experience, if you allow for that. Your children will be able to see all the work that goes into making a meal for your family, and they will appreciate everything that you do for them. Who knows, you may have a little sous chef in the making!

Do you cook with your children? Post your tips and easy recipes in the comments!

Amanda Branham is a music journalist turned mom blogger after she became a stay-at-home mom last year. She writes about her adventures in domestication at from house parties to housewife. You can check out what she’s up to on Facebook and Twitter, and follow her addiction to Pinterest.

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