Mealtime can be hectic, but there is no reason you have to do it all yourself. Getting your kids involved in meal preparation can have a lot of benefits for both you and your children.
When children feel invested in the meal they tend to be more willing to eat it. They get excited that they were able to help. They feel accomplished and more confident. Children also tend to be more willing to try new things, expand their pallets, and eat healthier when they are involved in the preparation process. Not to mention it is a good bonding moment for parents and children and helps to create healthy habits.
Everyone Can Be Involved
It is also important to note that this task is appropriate for both male and female parents and their male and female children. Everyone can be involved in the cooking and meal prep process. It is important we show our children that time in the kitchen is for the whole family, not just females.
What are some ways to get the kids into the kitchen without adding to the chaos?
1.) Ask their opinion on what they want to eat for a couple of meals during the week — Get the cookbooks out and let your kids look through them and decide on one or two meals they want to eat during the week. Encourage them to switch it up so they aren’t picking the same meals every week.
2.)Take them grocery shopping — After your kids pick out the meals they want for the week, take them to the store to get the stuff you will need. Let them help pick out the produce and get the boxes off the shelves.
3.)Allow them to use their hands — When prepping the meal give your kids a couple of tasks, it could be washing fruits or vegetables, putting salad greens on a plate, pouring ingredients into a bowl, measuring, stirring, etc.
4.)Have them set the table— Not only can your kids help with the meal prep, but they can also help set the table. Allow them to get the drinks out, put the silverware on the table, and arrange things the way they choose.
5.)Get them cleaning — They can also help to clear the table, load dishes in the dishwasher, and wipe down countertops or eating spaces.
And, lastly, you can have them choose the music for dinner one or two days a week. It doesn’t take much to make your children feel like they were part of the creating of the all-important family dinner, and the benefits can be huge.