Let’s Get Cooking; Why cook with children?
- If children have a say as to what goes on their plate, they will be more likely to eat it. (Fussy eaters may just eat things that they normally wouldn’t eat just because they made it themselves.)
- Builds their self confidence
- Promotes healthy eating habits
- Encourages an adventurous palate
- Encourages quality time between parent and child.
Top Tips for getting started
- Choose the right time that suits you and your child. You don’t want to be on a strict time schedule when children are involved. Over the weekend or during holidays usually works best if you have older children who are in school.
- Be prepared, before you get started take time to read the recipe yourself and get all the necessary ingredients. Preparation is key.
- Save time by doing some prep work in advance. This can include; weighing out ingredients and cracking eggs beforehand and pre- heating the oven.
- Start small and keep it fun, children may lose interest very quickly. You don’t want be left with a half completed dish and a very messy kitchen.
- Choosing the right tasks for the right age group. For younger children start with basic recipes and basic tasks. Think about the steps involved and figure out what tasks your child could do.
The Key is to give small jobs that meet their skill level;
- Stirring pancake batter
- Tearing lettuce for salad
- Adding ingredients
- Assembling a Pizza
- Helping to read the cook book by turning the pages
- Older children reading measurements
- Using cookie cutters
- Beating eggs
- Rolling dough
- Washing fruit and vegetables
- Allow mistakes to happen and try to be patient.Allow for a little extra mess. Remember don’t get stressy, just get messy. You’ll take the fun out of it if your children are afraid to make a messAsk your little one what they would like to make. Giving them a choice between two or three options helps as you never know what dish they will suggest.
- Encourage your children to taste ingredients and talk about what they like and dislike.
- Children love to be praised and complimented. Praising children boosts their confidence. Rather than focusing on your children’s mistakes emphasise positive, specific things they are doing. “You’re doing a great job stirring that sauce” “Wow you’re so good at measuring out the flour”.
- Offer guidance and help rather than taking over the task. “Would you like me to help you with this?” Eventually children will learn these skills.
- Cooking/baking in the kitchen provides opportunities to gain a sense of accomplishment.
- Even when the end results are not what you expected, praise their efforts.
- Let your little helper taste the food and offer options. Ask them what they would like to make next.
- Name the dish after your child or let your child name the dish.