How To Cook With Young Kids Without Losing Your Mind

On television shows, cooking with children always looks relaxing and adorable. In reality, I know too many moms who find letting their kids into the kitchen to cook an excruciating ordeal. However, it’s all about your expectations. With the easy tips below, you can manage your expectations and actually find this task enjoyable.

Why Bake With The Kids?
If you’re feeling discouraged before you even start, you may be wondering if you should even bother with this messy endeavor. Some reasons include:

  • Creating a bonding experience – If you’re able to make it fun for yourself, it is a great way to bond with your kids. For more ideas on how to creatively spend time with your children, take a look at Mommy Authority. Read expert advice from all different kinds of moms to enrich your own parenting.
  • Making Dinner – Making dinner which no one wants to eat is so draining. Having kids invest in their own dinner makes it less likely that they’ll refuse to eat.
  • Teaches Independence – Every parent I know straddles the balance between keep their kids safe and raising free range kids. Teaching them cooking skills while you are supervising is a great way to make kids feel independent while still keeping a close eye on them.

3 Tips To Get Cooking Today
1. Get Cleaning Help
The number one reason people don’t like to cook with their kids is the unbelievable mess they generate. Somehow flour gets spilled all over the kitchen floor, the toddler finds the bag of chocolate chips and you find yourself slipping on oil and wondering why on earth you decided to do this.

An easy tip is to schedule cooking time with the little terrors a day before you bring in cleaning help. Every time eggs crack all over the floor and you have a shower of cocoa powder, you can smile serenely knowing that someone else will be taking care of cleaning it all up.

2. Use Shortcuts To Save Time
While it’s so much fun for kids to measure out each ingredient and crack a thousand eggs, sometimes it’s just not practical. If you’re pressed for time, find a cooking project that you can do in a short amount of time. Some examples include:

  • Pizza toppings – Instead of having the kids make the dough and roll it out, buy pre-made dough and give it to them already rolled out. All they need to do is add sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Yogurt parfaits – Normally, you can have kids make homemade granola and cut up fruit in order to layer with yogurt to make parfaits. To shorten this, use store-bought granola and pre-cut fruit.
  • Tuna wraps – Arrange a plate of wraps and one of tuna. Then set out bowls with different, thinly sliced vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Let children personalize their own wraps for an easy dinner idea.

3. Make Food For Someone Else
Sometimes when doing a baking project, there is a tendency for kids to want to hoard it all and gobble up all 52 cookies they make. Baking is so much fun but if you want to keep it healthy, make a plan to give some away. You can bring it to an elderly neighbor, a friend or even a babysitter.

Thinking of others also gives the baking a higher purpose and can minimize squabbles between the kids as everyone is working towards to same goal of helping someone else.

Take Away
Time spent with children when they’re young may help your relationship with them as they get older. A study analyzed relationships between children and their parents and found that tensions increase as children get older. This means that while your children still want to spend time with you, take this opportunity to bond with them. Who knows? One day they may start cooking dinner for you!

Miss Normal & Moving

You know the drill, your three year old has a tantrum, he lashes out at you, you sit him out, several attempts are needed, and you count to ten whilst feeling the glares of people standing by or walking past. Their judgemental glances, and eye rolls burn deep into your heart, and you feel like the worst mummy ever, but they also burn into your little ball of rage you bury deep inside. This rage is fanned into flame by staring imbeciles who you want to fly kick across the park, or is this just me? Just kidding.

Sometimes another mum will give you a little smile, as if to say ‘don’t worry we are all in this together’, but sometimes an annoying perfect mother will dish out a sentence that you want to fling right back at her. A sentence such as ‘I feel sorry for you!’. I’m all like ‘What? Who? Me?!” She feels sorry for me? Who on earth would even think that’s ok to even say? Sympathy because my child misbehaved and I’m lovingly disciplining him? No thanks.

Mums what are we doing?! Don’t feel sorry for one another, build one another up. What I actually need to hear mid discipline is “Keep going, you’re doing great, you obviously love your child!” Not patronising sympathy.

And while we are at it let’s address a few more people I run into mid tantrum, mid discipline.

Mrs White-skinny-jeans-burberryhandbag-inappropriatedailyfootwear-backcombedhair-wehaveananny, I do not appreciate your glares over the top of your Raybans. Your shiny lips do not make you a better mother. I discipline my children publicly out of love, and I want them to grow up as respectable human beings, not run around being spiteful and rude like your designer children. How about a friendly smile? Being a momma is hard enough.

Mr Iwanttodrinkmycoffeeinpeace, I hope one day you get to drink your coffee in peace and quiet without any ‘noisy’ children around. I will never apologise for my children being just that; children. I suggest the best place is either your own home or a library.

Mr & Mrs We-have-forgotten-what-children-are-like, you annoy me the most. Do not stand and gawp. Do not look me in the eye and show no emotion whatsoever, because unfortunately, or not, my brain will be too slow in stopping my mouth opening and my protective momma bear instinct will kick in. Go roll your eyes at a real problem.

Mr Shopkeeper, my children are only small, they like to explore. They do not understand the concept of ‘buy before you try’. They don’t mean to pick things up and carry them around just to put them back in the wrong aisle, they’re just inquisitive. I assume you don’t have toddlers, but if you do then go take a long hard look in the mirror, and take your pettiness elsewhere. Your shop is not Harrods. My munchkins are not grownups.

Mrs I-park-in-parentandchild-spaces-when-I-dont-have-children, you frustrate me, you make my blood boil. Parent and child spaces do what the label says. Us parents need the extra room to manoeuvre little rascals out of huge clumpy seats, and get out car seats, and the four hundred items us mommas have to carry to ensure a calmish shopping trip. I wish shops would put parent and child spaces at the back of the carpark, we would still use them, because believe it or not it’s not about the convenience of how near it is to the shop. Next time go find another space, a normal one, there’s hundreds.

Mrs Advicecentral, I don’t need or even want your advice mid-tantrum thank you. Believe it or not it’s taking all my energy and patience to not throw my child across the car park (joke!), so hearing you’re opinion will only further my agitation. I may smile politely, but carry on and watch me go full-on hulk. Keep your advice for the people you know.

Mrs I’d-Never-Uproot-My-Kids-Until-They’re-18 I do not need your advice or your judgement. I don’t want your opinion on the area we move to or the schools nearby. I don’t want your eyes upon my finances and whether you think it’s a good investment. All I care about is a smooth move with the right removal services; the kind that eradicate the stress, ones you can trust!

And then there’s Miss Normal, the lifesaver of the downcast momma. Miss Normal has her own little darlings, her hairs in a messy top knot, her face flushed, her shopping bags heavy, and her children are happy and loved. She gives a knowing nod, a smile, and strikes up a conversation about the tantrums she’s experienced that day. Miss Normal repairs your momma self esteem, she empathises, she knows! Miss Normal revitalises your patience, she encourages you to keep going, she saves the day. I like Miss Normal.

I want to be Miss Normal. She changes people’s lives. She helps people back up. She holds out her hand and pulls you back into reality. She helps unpack when you move without judging your belongings.

Be Miss Normal next time you come across a momma having a hard time.