We all want to get our kids in the kitchen and teach them to cook, but it can be super stressful to have your preschoolers and toddlers underfoot. Here’s how you can let them help you and learn to cook without regretting it.
I started out so enthusiastic.
The kids and I were going to organize our oatmeal packs to freeze. I do this regularly instead of buying individually packed oatmeal which is like a bazillion more dollars per oat. One child wanted to put the oats in the bag, the other the chocolate chips in the bag, and the other a bit of sugar and raisins.
I nearly died of an anxiety attack approximately 12 minutes into the process and I think they ended up watching cartoons with me laying on the counter, cucumbers covering my eyes.
Okay, slight exaggeration, but you see what I mean. I truly desire to teach all of my kids to cook (boys and girls), but in the day to day, it can just be stressful. I still don’t have it all worked out down to an art, but I’ve figured out how to make it work better for us.
How to Teach Preschoolers to Cook The Easy Way
Here’s to working ourselves out of kitchen duties!
Choose easy recipes or meals
Don’t try to make a souffle with your preschooler first go. Until they are comfortable pouring, stirring, and moving around things that can spill, don’t get too complicated. If you know you’re cooking something that is a bit more high stress (like flaming fajitas, say) just don’t involve them.
We often choose breakfast type recipes to do together since they seem easier than dinner ones. At least, the recipes we use. The pictures here show us making quinoa egg breakfast muffins which was very child-friendly.
Prep beforehand where possible
Of course, we want to teach our kids to measure, chop, and prep food. However, if you have quite a few ingredients that require a lot of manhandling, try to get the things together beforehand. Maybe measure out the sugar, flour, or water so they can mix, stir, and combine without having to dig into a big container and then spill it everywhere and make you cry.
Don’t do it when they’re starving
This was a big one for me. I was like “why can’t you stop eating all the ingredients and just mix it?” Ugh, because it’s mealtime and they are hungry. Duh. A good time to involve the preschoolers in the kitchen is mid-morning or mid-afternoon when they’ve had a snack. You can prep dinner ahead of time or just cook something special like a treat or dessert.
Try not to flip out
This is a big one. If you are Type A like I am, and I’m sure you are glad you aren’t, a big huge mess and lots of cleanup gives us heartburn. But, having a lot of kids has cured part of my Type A so I am better able to handle it now. I just remember they are small. They are learning. It’s fun to spill things and mix things and eat ingredients and just be in the kitchen with mom.
When I get a bit stressed, I just give the massive cuddles and remember it’s going to make them smarter. And, hopefully, that these hours in the kitchen will reward me well when they’re teenagers and I’m reading a book while they slave away in the kitchen.
My children absolutely love the TruMoo chocolate milk. I mean, we went through two gallons in the past three days and that is no lie. It has 50% more calcium than regular low-fat milk without sacrificing any taste. I actually use TruMoo in our morning smoothies with fresh fruit and it adds just a little bit more kick.
Like regular TruMoo milk, TruMoo chocolate has no artificial hormones and no high fructose corn syrup so you can feel good giving it to the kiddos on a regular basis.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.