It’s true that it is very easy to start turning your back at the kitchen and loosing a lot of interest in doing it every night. Specially when you have returned from work or you have had a long day, the house needs some care, children are tired and hungry and basically you need to begin that family dinner from scratch.
We get it, it really isn’t fun.
However, over the last couple of years we have found that there are actually a couple of tricks and tips that can help you regain that love for cooking, and the best of all is that it includes many or all the members of the family, making it a full new experience for everyone.
The kitchen, your playground.
One of the most important things to begin with, is to change the perspective you have about the kitchen. If you have children, then it is recommended for you to use your imagination and see it as your private and exclusive playground.
We understand this might not be the easiest thing to do with the blink of an eye, as it is pretty obvious that those sharp knives, the food processor and the hot stove aren’t precisely the toys you would first pick to hand in to your child.
However, if you begin with this step and you accomplish it, the next thing to do is to start thinking about the ways you could play together in this renewed area of your home. To start with, check which are the elements your child can cook/play with, according to his/her age, buy some additional ones that are safe to use and create, if possible, a drawer or box for them to store all their kitchen appliances (such as bowls, spoons, mixers among others) so that when it’s time to cook they can take it out themselves.
Designate the ‘games’
Before you invite your little one to the kitchen table to help you do something, be sure to know what is that activity she/he will be doing in order to avoid unnecessary fighting while cooking. Select tasks that might look too simple to you but that can actually entertain someone not so old. Some ideas are:
- If you are peeling fruits/vegetables let your child put the residues inside a specific container or bag, to later throw it out.
- Let your child pass from one container to the other things like pasta or potatoes.
- Ask your child to help you count how many pieces have been cut already.
- If baking, let them mix the ingredients or stir when needed.
- Teach them how to press the food processor or hand mixer (under careful supervision of an adult).
- With special childproof knives, let them help you cut whatever you are cutting.
- Let them participate in the tasting.
- Allow them to help you serve on the plates when done or get the table ready.
The benefits are beyond expected
Having your children helping you in the kitchen brings many more things than you could imagine. Just by implementing small routines in the kitchen (not necessarily everyday) you and your family will begin to experience a very different atmosphere around meal times.
By involving your children in the cooking processes, they not only get the chance to share with you some additional quality time, which before was more like: “wait until I’m done cooking”, but they start from very young ages to get involved in an healthy lifestyle by learning how to prepare home meals and by trying out a great variety of products, fruits and vegetables. Additionally to this, by letting them be involved in this daily activity you let them know you acknowledge how valuable and helpful they can be around the house.
Truth is the cooking in itself might not go faster, it can also be a bit more messier than before, some of the tasks might need some practice before they can master them and off course you will need to have an extra pair of eyes while doing it all to avoid any accident in the kitchen. Nonetheless, all of this is worth it, when the whole family can be involved in such an exciting activity as cooking, to later on be able to sit down with a positive attitude to enjoy what you have just prepared.
Some of the activities mentioned can be done with kids under 2 years old, but be sure to give them activities they feel confortable with, this is meant to be a great time and not a task!
Check our favourite Danish online shop for buying child-safe kitchen products, Kitchen4kids, which sells all sort of articles to make this the best time of the day.