There is little on this earth that can teach you about yourself and the way your children view you as easily as cooking with your children, or grandchildren. Of course, this is the perfect opportunity for many of us to let our hair down a little, relax, and have fun in the kitchen. Unfortunately, if you are anything like me, this is a difficult process to say the least. I am a bit of a control freak in my kitchen. It is my domain or sovereign territory so to speak. For this reason, it is difficult to give up that little bit of control and hand over the reins to any child.
On the other hand, I know they are learning important skills that they honestly need to know in life. This knowledge of course doesn't make it any less difficult when I'm scraping tomato sauce out of places, I would never have thought to discover on my own. If you are considering cooking with children, you need to make sure you have the proper ingredients on hand before beginning. You certainly do not want to be caught without that cup full of patience you will be requiring, nor do you wish to need to leave in the middle of things for a run to the local grocery store to pick up the missing ingredients.
Another great rule of thumb when it comes to cooking with children is the KISS rule. Keep it simple silly. This rule will help more than you ever realize. First, most children have relatively short attention spans. While they want to learn and help, they also do not want to have enough time to get bored with the details. Use simple recipes when cooking with children and your chances for success will be much greater than with overly complicated or ingredient intense recipes.
As if this wasn't enough to absorb another very important rule when it comes to cooking with children is to clean as you go whenever possible. Trust me on this. While there is part of you who will want to put off the task of cleaning the messes that are made until later, or wait till the end and only clean once, this allows the opportunity for messes to layer and compound themselves. Constantly clean throughout the process for the best possible results. You should enlist your children in the cleaning process as well. While it may be easier to do yourself, it is far more important to teach them the basics of cleaning as you go. Remember one day they will more than likely invade your kitchen while you're not looking.
Cooking with children can be an incredible way to have a fun day if you are able to let go of the control that you too often hold over the kitchen. Give over the keys to your kingdom for a day of fun and frolicking among the flour and sugar and see just how many wonderful memories you can make with your little ones along the way. Allowing your children to help, will instill in the children a love for food, knowledge, confidence and pride.