How to Cook with the Kids (without the nervous breakdown)

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kids in the kitchen

How to cook with the kids without a little (BIG) bit of a nervous breakdown?  We asked our community of MamBakers and they told us how they do it:

Cian

Give them defined and specific tasks.

For example: cupcakes

If they can read numbers get them to look for the right amount on scales. Measure milk, one task. Pour milk, another task.
They do the eggs and do a little tidy (shell in bin, cups in sink) while you use the mixer (especially good with little ones).

If they are big enough, they help do the batter. If not, they can supervise you doing that while they sit and lick beaters. That’s usually enough time to divide mix and put in the oven. Setting the timer can be a counting game.

Stress free cupcakes!  It may sound nuts, but one “super helper” job goes a long way.

Bec
Our 3 year old have been helping with cooking since she could sit up and hold a spoon. She does the eggs (she even successfully separated one after my Step Mother showed her how), mixes thing (with a focus on slowly and gently) measures and pours stuff in, measures stuff out. She knows to keep her hands clean, and always asks before licking anything.
She has more recently started chopping things using a butter knife, and even cooks the sausages and burgers with her Dad. For us, it is always about giving her the opportunity, taking the time to explain, and teaching her to help with the clean up. Giving her one step at a time, and moving things out of her reach when I’m not directly supervising (although less of that now she’s bigger).
Rebecca My OCD can’t cope. I have learnt to step back and relinquish control for a little while. It has taken until my oldest is 8 to get to that point, but I have finally come to terms with my kitchen getting trashed.
Emily

I dont often let them help me…I have control issues. BUT when I do, my 3 1/2 year olds surprise me.

My two can crack eggs into a bowl without spilling and barely any shell gets in. And the other night one of them helped pour a can of beans into a bowl, pressed the buttons on the microwave, put toast in, buttered the toast, spooned beans onto the toast and sprinkled on cheese – pretty much made dinner herself!

Belinda:  It’s only mess, nothing a cloth and a bit of water won’t clean up (mostly). Deep breath and repeat:
“This is not just a mess, it’s a learning experience!”
ClaudetteAll too soon they won’t want to help at all, have at it and let them be adventurous little foodie souls. 
Larelle:  Valium.
Fiona: In the words of a great Ice Princess…. “Let it go… let it go!”
Donna: Have to repeat a little mantra to myself  “This is supposed to be fun, chill……,” lol
Kristen:  Can’t stand it!

MeaganYes it’s hard to let it go. I only let them in when I’m feeling relaxed.

MamaBake HQ says:  Get together to MamaBake then the kids can muck in too with the food prep with lots of adults around to guide them. Oh, and more hands to clean up afterwards!
once-a-week cooking

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