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Tips to Cook with Your Kids Successfully

Cooking with your kids can be frustrating. They spill; they splatter; they smear. Plus, there are knives and hot pans and things that they need to learn not to touch and to stay away from. It can definitely be more stressful than it is fun.

However, I believe that allowing your children into the kitchen area is important. I’ve already shared several reasons why I think getting them involved is important, but now let me tell you *how* to get them involved so you aren’t losing your sanity in the process.

Here are ideas of tasks to give your kids at different ages.

Under Age 5:

  • pour pre-measured ingredients
  • stir dry ingredients together
  • snap tops off beans or peas
  • smash crackers into crumbs for crusts and breading
  • set the table

Ages 5 to 7:

  • all of the above, plus…
  • cut soft fruits and vegetables (tomatoes, peaches with pits removed)
  • measure dry ingredients
  • wash fruits and vegetables
  • crack eggs
  • decorate cakes and cupcakes with sprinkles
  • load utensils and measuring cups into the dishwasher

Ages 7 to 9:

  • all of the above, plus…
  • measure ingredients
  • frost cupcakes and cakes
  • wipe down surfaces
  • load the dishwashser
  • separate eggs

Age 10 and Over:

  • all of the above, plus…
  • use small kitchen appliances like mixers, food processor or blender
  • chop fruits and vegetables
  • add/remove things from the oven
  • use the stovetop
  • everything!

Things to remember:

Don’t force it. When I am cooking with my kids, I let them come and go as they please. If they get bored, it’s fine if they wash their hands and run off to the living room to play.

I also take care in realizing the differences between each of my children. My three-year-old daughter, for example, is very attentive and interested in helping me, especially after her siblings have left the room. I know that she can do more than, say, my five-year-old son could do at that age because of her temperament and her desire to be involved and engaged in the process.

Have fun
. If you’re too busy fretting over the egg shell that got dropped in the batter or the flour that spilled on the flour, your children will know. Remember that those things can be undone. The eggshell can be fished out, the flour swept up. Instead, focus on the life lessons you’re teaching your children and the memories you’re creating for them.

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