When Cooking With Kids is Hard

We all picture parenthood as a series of beautiful bonding moments; making cookies, teaching them how to ride their bike, kissing them goodnight. We never picture the inevitable moments, the impatience, the frustration and the energy needed. We know cooking with our kids makes them more adventurous eaters and creates beautiful childhood memories.  It's easy to say hey, cook with your kids! But making it work can be tricky, frustrating and hard. Why? It comes down to a couple of avoidable factors, here they are…

Lack of planning- not the right meal, not the right time (just getting off of work and dinner needs to be on the table fast), dishes still in the sink and the kitchen needs to be organized first.

Timing isn't right- we want to include our kids but we're tired, overworked, impatient, distracted and multitasking. I just want to get the meal on the table.

Expectations too high- we expect things to go quickly, easily and smoothly only to realize that instructions need to be repeated and rephrased. Spills and errors are a reality and when we are expecting swift easy cooking we set ourselves up for frustration.

So how do we overcome these pitfalls?

When meal planning (are you meal planning?!) schedule certain meals that your kids can help with. Those meals can be strategically planned to include to-do items that are easily executed. Sure you can include your child in any recipe, but planning ahead can set you up for success and prevent some of the pitfalls.

Plan to cook with your kids when you have plenty of time and you are able to relax and slow down. Asking yourself if you are in a good head space for cooking collaboration is vital. Better to tell them you'll cook together another time than to blow a gasket because you needed some space; we've all been there.

Mentally prepare; remind yourself that they are still learning! Spills, mess, confusion, it's all part of the experience. Deep breaths. Acceptance is key. The more you cook together the easier it'll get.

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