Ease Dinner Time Chaos: Tips for Cooking With Your Kids


Five o’clock hits and it looks like all h*ll broke loose in my house. The kids are screaming at each other, I am juggling two or three pots on the stove. The kids want my attention, they are hungry and I just want to get through the dinner prep. It’s not a pretty sight and it’s certainly one of the more stressful times of my day.

I call it the ‘witching hour’ or just ‘dinner time crazy’ and it nearly makes me crazy by the end of the week. I have started something new though and it seems to really be helping — a simple thing I wish I thought of way earlier.

The kids want my attention, I want them to be quiet — I have them help me now and peace seems to be found again. Now, not only is my sanity saved, but I am able to fit in even more learning for the kids — their spouses will thank them when they are older and know their way around the kitchen.

Click through for tips on easing your dinner time chaos and teaching your kids to cook at the same time:

  • Show Them You Like To Cook 1 of 7
    Show Them You Like To Cook
    Kids, especially the young ones, love to be like mom and dad. If they see you in the kitchen cooking they will naturally be interested as well.
    Photo credit: Rachel Tayse on Flickr
  • Expect The Mess 2 of 7
    Expect The Mess
    As with learning anything, expect some mistakes and some mess. You may need some tips on how to clean up egg off the floor, and get flour off places you can barely reach - but it's all in fun.
    Photo credit: fotomicfoto on Flickr
  • Let Them Help With Planning Too 3 of 7
    Let Them Help With Planning Too
    Involve the kids in the planning parts of cooking too. From the grocery shopping, the meal planning and how to combine for balance of nutrition.
    Photo credit: fotomicfoto on Flickr
  • Start Slow and Early 4 of 7
    Start Slow and Early
    The earlier you start involving your kids with your cooking, the more it will take when you really need the break. Start them off early and slow by stirring, handing you ingredients or just prop them on a step stool to watch.
    Photo credit: Cooking Up A Story on Flickr
  • Allow Plenty of Time 5 of 7
    Allow Plenty of Time
    With the kids helping the food will likely take a bit longer to reach the dinner table. Plan for that and don't rush through it -- that will just increase the stress and chaos.
    Photo credit: brklynchou on Flickr
  • Teach Along the Way About Where it Comes From 6 of 7
    Teach Along the Way About Where it Comes From
    This is a great opportunity to teach not only the steps of cooking but a huge variety of other things. Reading the ingredients, the labels, talking about where sugar and eggs come from and allow them the space to ask questions as they come up.
    Photo credit: Lee Stranahan on Flickr
  • Sign Them Up For a Class or Two 7 of 7
    Sign Them Up For a Class or Two
    If your child is really taking to cooking and/or baking, you may consider signing them up for a cooking class or two. Many don't think about it but a lot of local areas offer something for kids.
    Photo credit: nutrition education on Flickr

:: What is your favorite meal (or dessert) to cook with your kids? ::

More on Babble Kids:
How to tell it’s time for a Mommy Break
10 Storage Ideas for Your Kids’ Stuffed Animals
10 Super Foods Your Kids Should Be Eating Now

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Photo credit: nutrition education via Flickr

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