During the week, meal preparation in our family can be rather hectic. Utter lunacy comes to mind on some occasions during Em and Ro's toddler years! I knew they were curious about what we are having for dinner, but I found myself often shooing them out of the kitchen while I peeled, chopped and sauteed.
As they have gotten older and continued to express an interest in the culinary happenings of the house, I've begun to bring them in and teach them a few things here and there. These little tidbits below have helped me greatly to have successful sessions in the kitchen with my children and I hope they will help you too.
Don't take it all too seriously. Of course, observe hygienic practices, but spillage and "oops" will happen very often!
Everything does not have to be exact. A lopsided meatball? Okay. Wobbly bits falling on the floor? Okay. Tasks taking 20 minutes instead of 10? Okay.
Enjoy the one on one time with your child. For our family, mealtimes are a great time to communicate about the day. To come together and laugh-- to just be together and recenter. As Em and Ro continue to help out in the kitchen, meal preparation is becoming the same thing.
And of course, complimenting your child on their job well done will have them simply beaming! I remember my grandmother admiring my breakfast preparation of weak coffee, unwashed fruit and buttered bread. Showing them that you love their effort and not the mistakes will go a long way. In the photo below, Ro is pointing to one of "his" skewers of kefta that he made. My husband is off camera, and I can hear him even now in my head giving Ro a compliment that kept a mile wide smile on his face throughout the meal!
If you love spending time cooking or baking in the kitchen and notice that your children have an interest in there too, grab a step stool and bring them in with you. Your meal may not be picture perfect or exactly on time, but it will be a 5 star meal nonetheless!