Days off of school can be both a curse and a blessing for moms. On the one hand, you have ample time to spend with your little ones. On the other hand, kids need constant stimulation to stay happy, and attempting to meet that need can be exhausting. Not to mention, the three meals a day that everyone in the family needs aren’t going to cook themselves.
Juggling housework and family fun doesn’t have to be a herculean task if you embrace a little creative multitasking. Rather than hoping your children don’t get bored with whatever’s on TV or their iPads while you get dinner ready, why not employ some little interns in the kitchen? Not only will you be able to keep an eye on your kids more easily, but they'll also cultivate valuable life skills that they can carry into adulthood. And most importantly, the knowledge that their efforts are contributing to something concrete can help build their confidence.
Here are a few tips for helping your kids learn, grow, and develop healthy self-esteem as they aid Mom in the kitchen.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Even in adulthood, learning a new skill is almost always going to come with a side dish of mistakes. It’s natural for kids to feel embarrassed about their errors, but figuring out what went wrong and how to avoid repeating it is an essential part of the learning process.
When things inevitably go wrong, it's essential to focus on the solution rather than the problem. If your child spills some flour, have them get right to work cleaning it up. If they reach for a teaspoon when they should be using a tablespoon, reread the recipe together so they can realize their mistake and grab the correct measuring tool.
Establishing your kitchen as a shame-free environment where messing up is nothing but a call to try again will help your children grow into more hardworking, self-assured adults who won’t cry over spilled milk.
Set Them Up for Success
Of course, even when accepting that mistakes are an inevitable part of cooking, it’s still crucial to start your kids out at a level they can handle with some competency. After all, there’s a huge difference between mixing up salt and sugar and setting the kitchen on fire!
The first step towards helping your children achieve positive results in the kitchen is printing out some age-appropriate recipes, like pizza quesadillas or smoothie bowls. The goal is to find recipes that are simple for young chefs in training to make, healthy so you can feel good about serving it to them, and tasty so that they'll be excited to eat it once they’re done cooking.
When you’ve selected a recipe that everyone is on board with, it’s time to gather up the kitchen tools and ingredients you’ll need. Naturally, a child should not be working with anything potentially dangerous, and this is where our kid-friendly kitchen tools come in.
And since the adults in the house won’t be using any of these tools, it only makes sense to give your children a sense of ownership over them. Put them in charge of cleaning and putting away these items like child-safe knives, measuring cups, and aprons.
Open Up a Family Restaurant
What better way to enjoy a home-cooked meal than with the people you love? Rather than just cooking for the family, it can be fun to invite friends and extended family over for a dinner party now and then.
Not only will cooking for a larger group provide a valuable lesson in multiplying recipes, your kids are sure to feel a burst of pride when the dish they put in the effort to make turns out to be a crowd-pleaser. After all, there's no better reward for hard work than the knowledge that others appreciate it!
Don’t Put Your Kids’ Entertainment on the Back Burner!
We know it can be challenging to find fun and meaningful ways to keep your kids active and promote their emotional health, but it doesn't have to be. Allow us to take some weight off your shoulders by downloading the free Tovla Jr. Simply Savvy Kids Cookbook. It's designed to equip you with the wisdom you need to start raising capable, confident master chefs!