Letting your kids get in your kitchen and help you cook meals can be a messy yet fulfilling time. Not only does it help create fun memories and teach them valuable skills to learn throughout life, but it can also help them learn to be more willing to eat different foods such as pineberries or pineberry syrup when they are presented to them at mealtime.
It may take a while to get used to cooking with your kids as it will take longer to teach them how to do the steps. There will probably be a bigger mess to clean up afterward. If you stick with doing it and make a habit out of it, it will get continuously easier over time. Below are just a few of the fun benefits you can get out of cooking with your kids.
Go shopping with them
Taking them shopping does not mean that you take them to get cookies or candy or whatever they want just to make them happy. This is a chance for you to teach them all about fresh healthy ingredients. Tell them what produce you need and let them pick out what looks the best in their eyes. It may take a while longer to work your way through the store than it would if you were there by yourself, but it is also important to remember that you are raising kids who are one day going to be adults. Start teaching them young and when they get older, shopping for healthy foods will be one of their favorite pastimes.
Show them how to meal plan
Before you all go shopping for groceries or make random foods, sit down with your kids and write down some healthy meals that sound goods to them. You can have them look through your recipe books to find something that looks tasty to them or you can search through online recipes to find recipes that are both kid-friendly and healthy. You want it to be easy enough so that even your young kids can get their hands dirty but good enough so that you and the other parent enjoy eating it as well.
Do not worry about food looking picture perfect
It is easy to get caught up with your food looking or tasting a certain way. You want the exact amount of cheese that is called for, you need the toppings to be laid out in a certain design, or the food to be plated a particular way so everything looks just right when it comes out of the oven. However, if you get so focused on the outcome of the dish and every ingredient turning out just the way you envisioned, then you will focus on perfection instead of fun. This means that you will teach your kids that a perfect outcome is more important than having fun and experimenting with ingredients.
Instead, compliment your kids on the job you are doing. Tell them how great it looks and try to laugh when they make a mess. As time goes on, you can give them tips here and there for better success on their recipes so they continue to improve and enjoy cooking as they get older.
Give them what you wanted when you were a kid
Make sure that you compliment your child on their courage for choosing a new and different type of food to make and eat for a meal. It takes children a lot to be able to open their minds up and be able to try something new. Let them know that they have done well and compliment them on their bravery for trying new things that they may have never seen before.
Your child does not want to feel pressured to eat everything on their plate, and they do not want to feel as though they are making their parents wait on them just to finish their food. A child wants to feel as though they are valuable and their parents still want to spend time with them even if they do not finish all of their food. Giving them responsibility in the kitchen will help them build their self-esteem and set them up for a life of great eating habits.