We know we should teach the kids to cook, but it’s often such an episode! So instead of making it a holiday activity, involve them in what you’re doing anyway. It’ll be helpful to you too!
- Ask them to take it in turns to lay the table. It’ll help teach them table manners too, and which utensils are needed for which meals and dishes.
- Let the children make everyone’s cold drinks. Small children can pour out juices and get water from the tap. Just keep more breakable items like wine glasses out of their reach. Tea and coffee making can come later.
- When something isn’t too big or hot, ask children to bring dishes of food over to the table. Some things can be offered around before you start, which will teach them excellent hosting skills. The more involved they are with the food, the less likely they’ll be to push it round the plate, too!
- Children can cut up ingredients for recipes without you risking major injuries! Things like mushrooms and peppers don’t need razor-sharp knives, and the kids will love having a go.
- Mixing ingredients is always a winner, but not always feasible with hot pans. Instead, get them to open and pour out ingredients from packets. It’ll actually save you a lot of time along the way.
- Weighing out ingredients is a bit complicated, so let them watch while you do this and they’ll soon learn. Where quantities are less tricky, like cups, handfuls, pinches or numbers of items, let them take responsibility.
Tidy up time
- Taking their finished plate or bowl back into the kitchen is something even small children should get in the habit of. Once they get older they can take it in turns to clear the table for the whole family, putting sauces and napkins where they belong.
- One of the best ways to stop kids making a mess is to get them to clean what they dirty! So after each meal ask them to wipe the table clean, mopping up any spillages and crumbs along the way.
- Washing up is something small kids find great fun! Remove anything sharp or breakable first, and be on hand to help. A step and waterproof apron will come in handy. Let them have a go at weekends. Then once they’re Junior School age you can make it more of a family rota.
- Kids love to choose what they’re eating. So give them options between which fruit they put in their lunchbox, and which cereal bar they’d like. They can even fill containers with dried or tinned fruit themselves.
- Buttering bread can take a child ages at first, so let them practice at weekends when you’re not in a hurry. Then once they’re more capable, let them get involved in making their own sandwiches for school. They can choose fillings to put on the bread and eventually make the whole thing with supervision. They’ll be much more likely to eat what they’ve lovingly made, too!
- Make lunchboxes a part of their after-school routine. So as well as changing out of school uniforms, get your children to unpack their lunches. They can put rubbish in the bin or recycling, and empty drinks bottles ready for washing.