One of the biggest challenges of cooking with your children apart from finding the time is balancing the needs of siblings. Cooking with more than one child can be challenging and dealing with the dynamics of siblings can be offputting. But there are ways that you can make cooking with siblings easier.
We have been working with Uncle bens and their fantastic Ben’s Beginners cooking hub and to celebrate International Cook With Your Kids Day which was on 15th October 2016, I am going to share my tips for cooking with siblings.
There is only 14 months between my boys and I am going to admit to you that some days I just can not cook or bake with both of them. So sometimes we have one to one cooking time. there is no shame in this at all. I just make sure that they know who’s turn it is and that it is always fare.
10 Tips for cooking with Siblings
- Cooking with kids should always be about the process, not the outcome, especially with younger children. So lower your expectations and make sure it is not essential that the food is edible
- Make it fun! If one child is doing something and needs your attention then get the other one doing something fun – we often have a kitchen dance off.
- Make sure that everyone has enough room to do their tasks. I allocate the boys a specific are for them to work at and this stops arguments about territory.
- Whilst we are talking about tasks, make it clear in the beginning who is doing what, this again prevents arguments.
- Do not stress the small stuff. if you are someone that hates mess then head it off at the pass by having a drop cloth on the floor or by getting the kids to tidy as they go.
- If you are cooking with toddlers, then make sure you have everything ready for them and factor in their concentration span. I have more tips for baking and cooking with little ones here.
- Make sure that your children know your kitchen safety rules and that they are non-negotiable. Even though I want cooking to be fun, I want it to be safe first and foremost.
- It doesn’t always have to be a learning opportunity. Seriously, children will be absorbing all sorts of skills in the kitchen just cooking with you, so do not worry about getting them to confirm colours, weight etc. Sometimes you break the flow when you try and make everything a learning moment.
- Make it age appropriate. If your children are not old enough to read, then why not produce your recipe using images.
- There is nothing wrong with working separately with your children. you could always do part with each of the on their own. The Ben’s Beginners hub has some activities that one can do whilst the other is helping you.
I have been cooking with my boys since they were old enough to sit and I am now being rewarded by them being able to shop, prepare and cook family meals. But it hasn’t always been easy. The biggest lesson I have learned along the way is: do not try and cooking with children when you are in a bad mood, have a short temper, am rushed or have very little time. it doesn’t help them or me, if I am cranky in the kitchen. I give it a miss and try again another day.