Lots of parents are nervous about bringing their kids into the kitchen – I was too! I was also doing that crazy balance of trying to entertain kids while cooking dinner and it never seemed to go smoothly. One day I realized if I have to make dinner I might as well bring in the kiddos to help me out, it will give them something to do and give us all time together. Sure there might be a few more messes and things might take a bit longer, but I’m spending quality time with my kids while accomplishing tasks (and I don’t have to do things like wash veggies anymore!). My kids have learned so much and are really excited when they create a new dish. I can’t begin to tell you how proud my 2 1/2 year old was when he made those yogurt covered strawberries! For tips on how to get started cooking with your kids and the recipe for the french toast strips, take the jump…
Tips for getting your kids in the kitchen:
1. Take a deep breath and think of this as a late afternoon activity together with your kid.
2. Let go and let your kid have some control – it’s ok if it doesn’t look perfect and uniform. (an easy way to get egg shell out of the bowl of eggs it to use a piece of the shell!)
3. Make sure you talk to them about safety – like knives and sharp things and the hot stove, importance of hand washing and not putting fingers in mouth with raw chicken on them, etc.
5. The kids either stand or kneel on a chair with a back on it and if they are working at the sink I put the back to the side that is away from me, I can catch them from my side or the back. If they are working at the stovetop I put the back of the chair against the front of the stove. This way if they lean forward they can grab the chair back, NOT the hot stovetop.
6. When beginning a dish, like adding olive oil and onion to pan, don’t turn the burner on until after they have tossed in the ingredients. This takes care of the pops and sizzles that bounce out to burn tiny arms.
7. When using the mixer I never plug it in until I am ready to turn it on and I unplug it when I turn it off. You never know when little hands will get curious with switches.
8. Remember if you are adding liquid to a hot pan it will steam and steam can burn, so add a little liquid to cool off the pan, then let your kiddo add the rest.
9. A great way to add veggies or chunks of anything to hot liquid is to use a spoon – there’s less splashing and hands are further away from the splash zone.
10. My kids and I like kid utensils, like plastic knives and measuring cups/spoon from curious chef and regular table knives work great too.
11. Kids are great at grating, peeling and slicing soft fruit and veggies (strawberries, cucumber) with supervision.
12. Let your kids get creative, go through recipe books and let them pick out what to cook or for a more experienced mini chef, let them create a recipe
For breakfast Sylvie and I cooked Baked French Toast Sticks. This is a great breakfast to make with kids and it also saves time by cooking it in the oven versus standing over a stove and flipping. Instead of syrup we used Milk with a bit of Ovaltine mixed in. This way they get something sweet to dunk their sticks into and they also get the nutrition and a jump start on their day by having a big glass of Milk.
Read more great recipes from Macki on Cooking With My Kid!
See all Macki’s recipes on Family Kitchen