Most kids love to cook. It’s hands on, messy and there’s plenty of room for creativity. When kids learn to cook their own meals, not only do they gain a real sense of achievement, but you are teaching them a whole wealth of important life skills! The more you encourage your kids to participate in cooking healthy and delicious meals, the more they’ll learn to understand and love what they eat. There is a downfall to cooking with kids though, and it’s one that parents have to learn to cope with: the mess! These simple tips with help to teach you to say yes to the mess and learn how important and fun it can be to cook with your kids!
Getting kids into the kitchen to cook with you is a win-win situation, no matter how old they are and no matter what meal you choose to make. By interacting with you in the kitchen, your child will gain more than just learning how to cook. They will learn all sorts of important skills. Most importantly, cooking with your child will give you the opportunity to bond with your child in a very special way. You can communicate with them and help to reinforce the knowledge that you are there, wanting to listen to what they have to say.
In addition to increasing communication skills, by cooking with your kids you can:
-improves math, science and reading comprehension skills by reading and understanding recipes
-learn about other countries and cultures by cooking a variety of types of foods
-learn about food preparation, enhances organizational and cleanliness skills
-and most importantly: the chances are MUCH greater that your child will eat the healthy food you are making if they help you prepare it!
Now if inviting your kids into the kitchen makes you nervous, here are some tips to make it easier and more fun for everyone!
Take your time
When you do anything with kids it takes longer, and cooking is no exception. Expecting and planning for this will make it easier on you! So set aside extra time for cooking and be aware, that particularly for younger children, the journey is as much fun as the destination!
Select an appropriate recipe, one that they’ll enjoy and that involves plenty of activities that are suitable for their age. Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment at the ready and if necessary, do some preparation before you ask them to join you. Baking is fun but if you need to get the evening meal ready, think about how they might help you to do that instead. Don’t forget to teach them about some basic food safety like washing their hands, tying their hair back and wearing an apron to cover there clothes.
Consider their Age and ability
Many children’s recipes have age guidelines but look at your own child and think of what they are capable of doing. Can they chop or are they too young for that? Can they mix, measure or stir? Whatever you choose, there are always activities for every child, even if it’s just messing around in the sink washing vegetables and plastic containers while grown-ups and older children chop and cook.
Expect a lot of mess
Cooking is a messy business and when kids are involved there’ll be even more. If you plan ahead and exercise a bit of “damage control”, you can learn to say “yes to the mess!” much easier! Little things like putting down a plastic tablecloth or mat down on their workstation can help to keep the mess contained to their area, and remembering to have them wear an apron can help save clothes. Ultimately though, you’ll all have more fun if you just let the mess happen and then clear up together at the end!
Did you know that many, many parents (like over 90%!) often say “no” to their children helping in the kitchen or to crafting just because of the potential mess and clean up? Of course you do, but we ALL have done that! I can’t even count how many time I avoided these types of activities just because I knew cleaning up would be such a hassle. Most parents now a days realize how important being creative is for kids, so let’s all learn to let those creative juices flow by making clean up MUCH easier with Swiffer!
With Swiffer‘s awesome cleaning power, you can be sure to get that mess cleaned up in no time! Cooking with kids, you can expect to get a mess on the floors, and with the Swiffer Sweeper you can clean up the spilled flour or crumbs in just a few seconds, and then get any stickies away with no trouble at all with the Wet Jet! Having these tools around is especially important if and when you are cooking with toddlers and younger children. As much as they try, it’s nearly impossible for the mess to stay ON the counter and OFF of the floor. With Swiffer, you can learn to say YES more, since you know you will be spending less time cleaning and more time enjoying being with your kids!
Best of all, since Swiffer products are so incredible easy to use, you can also have your kids help to clean up after the mess is done! Involving your kids in the clan up process teaches them how important it is to take responsibility for their actions and by helping to clean up gets the job done faster. 97% of parents can agree that letting kids learn to clean up teaches them responsibility and can help them learn a lot about being an important part of the family- so why deprive them of those experiences! By having plenty of Swiffer dusters, your Sweeper and Wet Jet near by, you can invite your kids into the kitchen more and embrace the mess- and all of the fun that goes with it.
I know personally how important great cleaning products can be, and I was so glad to be able to share the joy of the Swiffer Effect with my neighbor! She just had her second baby and by gifting her two giant boxes of amazing cleaning products, she was thrilled that she too, could spend less time cleaning and more time being with her kids. She hadn’t used too many Swiffer products before and was amazed at how simple they were to use and how well they worked! They are, bar none, the best ones out there- especially for moms of mess toddlers.
Lastly and most importantly: Make it fun!
Children will learn to love cooking if you relax and have fun with them in the kitchen. If you feel nervous, start with some basic recipes. They don’t need to be cooking a roasted turkey with all of the trimmings, a simple grilled cheese with chopped veggies on the side is fine! No matter what you make, they are still a learning and gaining some wonderful life experiences. Depending on their age, try only step in when it’s absolutely necessary, otherwise let them enjoy, create and have fun!
Want to learn more about the awesome cleaning power of Swiffer? Check them out online and get some great coupons and more cleaning tips!
Do you cook with your kids? What’s your favorite recipe to make?
Disclosure: Thank you to Swiffer for sponsoring this discussion today!