Consider the Timing
My kids used to love helping me in the kitchen with simple dinner prep such as peeling shrimp or baking their favorite dessert. But these days it seems like they are more inclined to choose screen time over kitchen help.
Suggestion: If you typically let them have screen time while you cook dinner, chances are they are not going to give that up. Even if you are not competing against the screen, if they’ve had a full day of school plus homework and other activities, there’s a good chance that they are pretty tired by dinner time. (Chances are you are pretty tired yourself.) So reconsider the timing. Why not have the whole family help make brunch or an early dinner on the weekends instead. Cooking or baking can also be a fun after school activity for those days when you have nothing planned.
Let Your Child be Head Chef
When I get into a cooking rut I sometimes ask my kids to help plan the menu. I have even let them plan out the whole week in the past. They LOVED that!
Suggestion: Give your child some options about what to cook and let them choose. This could be as simple as “We could make pumpkin muffins or granola bars. Which one would you like to make?” Or you could plan ahead and let them peruse one of your cookbooks and pick out a recipe they would like to make. Have them look at what is needed and take inventory of you have on hand and what you need to buy. Then go shopping!
Make Cooking More like Chemistry Class
If cooking still doesn’t appeal to your child, consider making it a little more adventurous or scientific. Let them come up with their own recipe. When given the chance, my boys love to come up with their own smoothie recipes. Last time we did this I stepped back and let them get super creative. Let’s just say some of their concoctions were more like potions from a wizard’s book, and they made quite the mess. But you know, they had so much fun and still talk about it.
I, too, remember coming up with my own baking creations as a child. I would mix a few ingredients together (like it appeared to me that my mom did when she made cakes) and put them into the oven to bake. Of course, this is how I learned how scientific and precise one has to be when it comes to baking–you certainly can’t just dump random amounts and types of ingredients together and expect a marvelous cake!
Suggestion: Try having your kids come up with their own smoothie recipe using ingredients you have at home. They may get so excited that they end up writing it down as their own recipe. Or they could try out a few different smoothie recipes and do a taste test to see which one to see which is best.
What are your thoughts? How do you get your kids involved with cooking?