Cooking With Kids: Making Memories & Sharing Life Skills As a Family by Melissa Vickers

2 years ago

Cooking With Kids: Making Memories & Sharing Life Skills As a Family

If you have young children, chances are as soon as you set foot in the kitchen they are right there with you. They want to help, and the trick is to find ways to let them that are age-appropriate, and mindful of the inherent safety issues of working in a kitchen (ovens and sharp knives, for starters!). I love cooking with my grandkids, even if it requires sand-blasting the kitchen and a day to recuperate afterwards!

Cooking is a life skill, and even young toddlers can begin to learn their way around the kitchen. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Safety first. Make sure you prepare for potential hazards. Keep knives away from counter edges and make an “everybody out of the kitchen” rule for when you open the oven door.
  • Break it down. If you are looking to engage toddlers especially, pick a task and break it down into simple steps – and then break those down even further. Toddlers can dump spices and other ingredients that you’ve already measured. They can set the table, but one plate at a time. As they grow, you can let them take on more complicated tasks like measuring ingredients, and even working up to using safety knives to learn to cut.
  • Level the playing field. Either bring the work surface down to your child’s level or bring your child up to counter height. My husband built a toddler step stool to bring our (then) 3-year-old grandson to counter height.
  • Take shortcuts when you can. Store bought, ready-to-bake cookie dough is great for kids to cut shapes with cookie cutters. Granted, homemade cookies are the best, and you can work up to having them help you with real recipes!
  • Messes are inevitable. Cooking with a toddler’s “help” inevitably leads to an important life lesson: If you make a mess, you clean it up. Put hazmat suits on both of you if you must, but just remember you are making memories!
  • Lower your standards. If you are a perfectionist in the kitchen, cooking with a 3-year-old isn’t for you. Part of the trick is identifying recipes where perfection is not a key element of success. This is not the time to involve your 3-year-old in decorating your niece’s wedding cake! Letting a 3-year-old decorate their own birthday cake, however, makes for a one-of-a-kind cake!
  • Have fun! This is the most important tip of all. Young children just want to be with you.

The memories you make will last a lifetime!

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Elisa Schmitz
Yes to all of this, Melissa Vickers ! I just love that step stool your husband made, wow. So smart and safe. Your grandson is adorable! Memories to last a lifetime.
Melissa Vickers
He is a cutie, isn't he? And now, at nearly nine, he's decided he wants to be a chef and open his own restaurant!
Cooking with kids is definitely worth the stress and mess 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

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