Teaching kids how to cook is an invaluable skill that they will use for the rest of their life. Not only will kids learn how to prepare home-cooked meals, but they will also be learning about health, nutrition, math, science, and even fine motor skills. You are a role model! Cooking can be a fun family activity and kids can get involved at every step of the process. You will be proud of your little one’s willingness and excitement to help!
Getting Kids Involved
Going to the grocery store with little ones can be a daunting task (and a hectic one at that), but grocery shopping is a crucial skill for kids to learn. If you usually order your groceries online, consider making a trip to the grocery store on occasion to teach your kids how to shop. It can be an incredible sensory experience! Make it fun by giving them small tasks such as picking out fruits and vegetables or by having them scan the items. Once you make it home, ask for their help carrying the groceries inside and putting them away. Remember not to forget to thank them for all of their hard work!
Kid-Friendly Meal Prep Tasks
Teach the kids food safety basics such as washing hands, cleaning kitchen surfaces, and using caution when working with appliances and foods such as raw meats. Kids as young as toddlers can begin helping in the kitchen, but make sure all assigned tasks are age-appropriate. As they grow older and learn to read, give them more duties and responsibility. Everyone can help! Here are some kid-friendly meal prep tasks for every step of the process:
● Selecting recipes to make
● Making a shopping list
● Gathering ingredients and utensils
● Washing fruits and vegetables
● Mixing and stirring ingredients
● Salad spinning
● Cutting soft fruit or plucking strawberry tops
● Peeling fruits and vegetables
● Measuring ingredients
● Season sprinkling (pre-measured for young kids)
● Watching timers
● Clearing the dinner table
● Washing dishes or loading dishwasher
● Wiping tabletops and counters
● Putting leftovers in containers
Mealtime can be viewed as an opportunity to spend time together and communicate. It is a time to lead by example, strengthen relationships, and build self-esteem. Disconnect from electronics and enjoy the quality time together.
When kids are involved in meal prep and family dinners, they will be more interested in trying new foods. Encourage your kids, but don’t pressure them to try new foods or clean their plates. Parents are one of the greatest influences on a child’s relationship to food and family meals can influence your child to develop a positive relationship.
Some days will be more helpful than others, but there is great satisfaction in making the effort to teach your children valuable life skills and promote healthy eating. You are doing your best and so are your kids! You will be making life-long memories and they will be so excited that you are cooking something together.
How will you get your kids involved in the kitchen this week?
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