Let me set the scene for you. It’s shortly after 5:00 pm and you have just started cooking dinner in a crazy attempt to have it ready when your husband gets home from work. You set the kids up with some fun activities so that you can prep and cook without interruption. Unfortunately, your kids have other plans because they are in the kitchen and trying to “help” you.
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? It’s pretty much a daily occurrence in my house. Most of the time I try my best to keep the kids entertained so that I can throw a quick meal together. But some things require a little more hands-on time, especially when it comes time to holiday cooking with kids.
Instead of shooing the kids away, it’s a lot less stressful for everyone if I give them jobs to do in the kitchen. Of course it slows down the process slightly, but it’s worth the memories and the experience.
So how can you get your holiday cooking done with kids “helping” you?
Here are a few tips:
Give yourself extra time. Of course your kids aren’t exactly executive chefs, so they’re bound to take more time doing even the simplest tasks. Make sure to allow some wiggle room in your cooking schedule, just in case.
Let them do the dirty work. When I was little my mom always gave me the task of peeling veggies. Now I can’t stand doing the peeling, so it’s good that I have my own kids and can make them do it. Sure, they don’t always do the most beautiful job, and it may take them twice as long, but it keeps them busy and lets me get other things done.
Don’t assume they can’t. You may think your child is “too little” to chop or stir, even though they insist on trying it. You might be pleasantly surprised to see what they can do with some good old-fashioned supervision.
Ask them what they want to cook. Sometimes you’ll be surprised to find out it’s more than just dessert. My oldest loves helping me make big soups full of veggies and he also loves helping me grill. It’s fun to see what they’re most interested in.
Whatever you cook, just make sure to have lots of patience and lots of fun. I’m looking forward to raising my boys and passing on a love for cooking. Maybe someday they’ll spend their holidays in their own kitchens with their own children!
Do you cook with your kids during the holidays?