Tuesday Tips for Parenting – Cooking Creates Memories

new logoLast week I was too tired to post a parenting tip. Such laziness! I repent of my sleepy ways. Never again will I choose sleep over blogging.

I have asked two friends to come in as Guest Bloggers for our Tuesday Tips for Parenting. I can’t wait! They are both amazing moms and I know you will love them and learn from their wisdom and experience. Thankfully this is a very slow time of year for families and moms in particular, so they have plenty of time to come by and share some thoughts with us. Ha! In other words, I’m not sure when we will welcome them to the blog, but I hope it will be soon.

In the mean time, let’s talk about COOKING with Children.

Cooking with your children is a fantastic way to train them in practical life skills, create memories, enjoy parent/child time, and participate in something that benefits the entire family.

Joshua's creation

This creation was definitely worthy of a photo.

Not only that, but you get to sit back and relax and let someone else take care of dinner and dessert. Of course, depending on the age of your children this can be more or less helpful.

I would be sure to write up a serious, rock solid contract on the kitchen clean-up duty before you enlist your children in cooking.

chocolate faceeating pineapple

Sometimes the younger children appear to make a mess and eat more than they actually help. Do not panic, that is just one step along the way to training great chefs.

sarah's got the beef

Sarah and Daniel made mini pizzas, with canned biscuits serving as the crust, as part of our dinner this evening. One way to ensure a child’s interest in a project is to offer it to a sibling. Nothing gets them rushing to help like thinking their brother or sister is having more fun than they are. Using Sibling Rivalry to Build Character would obviously be another great parenting tip. Maybe next time.

daniel's saucy

Daniel had the sauce step figured out. He tried to work with Sarah but she was just a little too heavy handed on the sauce for his liking. She obviously takes after her father. We call him The Sauce Man (but not to his face).

now some cheese

This picture should be entitled: “Pretend You Like Each Other and Weren’t Just Fighting Over the Sauce” or maybe “Staging Sibling Love for the Cooking Blog.” Not catchy but pretty accurate.

almost ready

You can see that we really did have sauce issues going on this evening. Another great reason to add cooking to your parenting toolbox. You can work out conflict, teach lessons about patience and acceptance, and do math all while making dinner. If you’re very, very lucky the children will have learned something, had fun in the process, and the meal will be edible.

So tell me, do you make it a regular practice to work in the kitchen with your children? Are you purposeful about it or is it something that just happens naturally throughout the week? What types of things are you making – baked goods, desserts, side dishes, or entire meals? Are your older children capable of planning and preparing a complete entree themselves (with more than one dish)? Do you have specific goals for your children in this area? Have you taught them some of the more complicated tasks – canning, making bread, baking pies, working with (gasp) raw meat? My older two have trouble dealing with uncooked beef or protein.

I’d love to hear what you are doing with your children regarding cooking. Please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks!

Project 365 – Day 346

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13 thoughts on “Tuesday Tips for Parenting – Cooking Creates Memories”

  1. I love cooking, Kathy, so hoped my passion for it would be contagious. Sadly, neither of my kids have developed an interest in it, despite working with them often, since early childhood. It’s purely perfunctory for them. Dd has terrible trouble with it due to her ASD and Ds sees it as a means to an end, only.

    I think cooking skills develop alongside an interest in food, nutrition, health as well as creativity, an eye for beauty, balance etc. Nope, neither of them have any of that.

    So, memories? Mmm… Dd has memories of accidentally cutting herself, scattering onion pieces all down the back of the oven and having lots of washing up to do. Ds only remembers the good bits, the chocolate chip cookies etc.{g}

    What is that creation in the first photo? It looks tasty, just not sure what it is.{g}

  2. Good job, sweet Katherine. I know you cook often and well with the kids. That’s fantastic!!

    I love you. Aunt Kate

  3. OK, I’m going to cook with my kids today. How many things can I cram into today…we’ll see.

    We make all sorts of things, but I have negelected the littles in this area. Elise wants to help now so I need to include her…and Isaac could……umm…two years old…he can do what Sarah was doing and lick the utensils.

    Brigette is making most of our dinners because she likes to. Abigail has no interest in preparing a whole meal, but she likes to make cookies and fun sweet things. Adam is our buscuit maker, I think he adds more of something…like butter, because they are so flaky!

    The only specific goal I have for the kids is that they know what is nutritious and what is not and that they are able to know how to hadle hot oil, hot water, burners and overs, sharp knives, food storage – how to keep things fresh in the fridge, and raw meat preparation and safety. After they know how to handle those things (forgot kitchen fire) I let them have at it and they can create what they like.

    Great pictures Kathy!

  4. My family has a certain schedule for dinner making:

    Monday- I cook something (usualy spaghetti, tacos or pork)
    Tuesday- Mom gets the pleasure
    Wednesday- Dad or mom (Dad usualy opts for the unusual)
    Thursday- Rebecca’s night
    Friday- Timothy (often chili or steak)
    Saturday- We all do pizza
    Sunday- get your own night

    My spaghetti has been complimented by colonels and majors alike. I make it with sauce. Tacos are easy and pork also. Knives are a joy to handle. Timothy has done the pita pizzas once before.

  5. Oh we LOVE to cook here…I actually think I need to start making a schedule for who’s cooking because it’s a fight!! Both girls LOVE to do a lot of cooking and Samuel (who’s FIVE) is a master baker…ok not quite but he makes mean banana bread!!! He already knows the recipe really well because it’s his fave thing to make! Shyann is 10 now and has been cooking for a few years, she is good at making rice and spaghetti and she loves to fill the bread machine for a new loaf. Ciara is 8 and makes great mac and cheese and Tuna Mac Salad and fill the bread machine as well!!!

  6. Our twins are three and love to help in the kitchen, so I have to come up with safe things for them to do. So far they like to help spread peanut butter and jam on bread for sandwiches, pick out their own fruit, and cut out cookies (when the inspiration strikes). Another helpful thing I’ve found with them is if I take them to Pike Place Market and let them choose their veggies, when we cook with them they’re much more likely to eat it. They even remember which ones they picked out! They’d love to help me with every aspect of cooking if I’d allow it, but sharp knives and hot stoves are just not in the picture yet.

  7. My boys like to help me in the kitchen when it involves baking and chocolate. Or just chocolate – no baking is even required! However, my littlest guy also likes to help me bake bread. He puts on his apron and chef’s hat and really takes his job seriously. He is also my A#1 potato peeler. I hope to keep encouraging that. :) Both boys are adept at inventing and making snacks like Mexican dips, etc. But I have yet to teach them to complete an entire meal. That is a good goal for me to have and I think we will work on that in 2008.

    Love your blog!!
    Laura in MO
    from SHS

  8. Just this evening, Ryann (almost 3) was upset about something while I was mixing Amish Friendship Bread, so I let her stir. Boy did she stir! The bread was wonderful. I am trying to let her help when she’s in the mood and it’s possible. Kyla (9) does have a night to cook, but we’ve gotten out of practice lately. She really enjoys the whole process, menu planning upto but NOT including clean up. Tara (8 mo) is usually on hand while cooking (literally, in my arms) but is only there for emotional support.

  9. My daughter was just asking about cooking today and looking through my cookbooks. I remember loving to get to cook dinner as a kid. Thanks for the encouragement to do this with my daughter!

  10. Oh, no!! Now I’m supposed to be teaching them to COOK too? I spend all of my time shooing them OUT of the kitchen. I consider it a huge success if they pour their own bowl of Frosted Flakes in the morning!

    (Okay, so I might be exaggerating just the tiniest bit, but not by much!)

  11. I LOVE to cook and bake. My grandmother, mom and my two sisters do too. I am sad to say that none of my kids except for one enjoy working in the kitchen. Maybe that will change as they get older or get married :-)

  12. Aunt Koffee, great idea about the biscuit dough for crust–I never thought of that one. Have to try it sometime. And tell Joshua his trifle looks great! I’m not precisely sure what’s in it, but it looks like there’s chocolate in there somewhere.

    As you know, I love cooking. It’s really fun in itself, and I like to watch Timothy’s face while he eats things I make. Mom and Dad don’t cook with me very often because I tend to be bossy in the kitchen. But I do have some very memorable memories about cooking with Dad for Mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day.

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