day with 2 under 3

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!

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