Here are my top tips for cooking with young children.
- Get children involved in smaller tasks to start with – picking out food at the supermarket, helping to lay the table, finding cooking utensils and just generally getting them hands on with food at home
- Start with the easier skills and build up – spreading things on toast, stirring a bowl of porridge, washing veg and adding toppings to meals are all perfect first skills to learn
- Take safety precautions and make sure you teach your kids what to be aware of. For example: Raffy knows not to touch the “black square” (hob) in the kitchen and Ada constantly shouts “(h)OT” when she sees the oven on
- Get some baby and toddler-friendly chopping utensils – there are lots of great options for safely cooking with kids
- Read the recipe through properly before you start and give your little one specific tasks that they can do whilst you’re doing more of the less safe or trickier bits of the recipe
- Get all your ingredients out before you start cooking, and ask little ones to help with weighing and measuring – this is a good way to expose them to all different foods, and they can see what goes into recipes
- Expect mess and allow them to eat the ingredients (if appropriate) – the number of times our recipes haven’t worked because Raffy has eaten his way through the ingredients – but it’s all learning, fun and exposure for them
- Avoid lots of pressure or making it a negative experience. If they get bored or stressed, simply stop. Forcing them to get involved won’t help foster a love of cooking in the long run
- Make it fun – wear colourful aprons or little chef hats, put on some music, and just let the mess happen as you can fix it all at the end! The more they enjoy the experience, the more they’ll be interested in cooking again and exploring more foods
You can get a special Little Chef Skills Chart - complete with stickers to celebrate little ones mastering new culinary skills - delivered to your front door. All you need to do is sign up to the Little Dish Family here.