This post is brought to you by Blue Apron. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Cooking with kids can be stressful, messy, and unenjoyable. Or it can be fun, help them learn life skills, and create happy memories. Here are five ways to make cooking with kids more enjoyable!
Anyone else think cooking with kids is stressful?
Cooking with kids can be…well, stressful. And messy. And sometimes dangerous, considering all the knives and flames in the kitchen. Also it can take twice as long.
But cooking with your kids can also be really rewarding and really fun! And there are lots of great learning skills involved.
I’m determined to teach my boys important life skills!
As a mom of three boys, I’m really determined to teach my boys essential life skills while they’re young. I want to hand off my boys to their future wives as capable men who can do their own laundry, cook a meal, and clean a toilet, along with a lot of other great life skills in and out of the house.
Blue Apron makes it easier to cook with kids
Today I’m excited to team up with Blue Apron to share five things that have helped me enjoy cooking with my kids, and a few tips to help you get your kids involved in the kitchen without making you tear your hair out.
If you haven’t heard of Blue Apron, they’re a meal delivery service! You can check out their WEEKLY MENU, pick your favorites, and all the fresh ingredients are sent right to your door pre-portioned and ready to cook.
They have a few different plans depending on how often you want your meals delivered, and how many people you have in your family, and their weekly recipes also have health-conscious options like vegetarian, carb-conscious Mediterranean diet, diabetes-friendly, and WW Approved recipes.
And of course you can pause your deliveries anytime if you want to skip a week or a month.
A Blue Apron discount code for you!
Here are 5 ways to make cooking with kids more enjoyable for everyone
1. Start with simple meals.
If you’re new to cooking, and/or your children are new to cooking, cooking can feel overwhelming for everyone. How do I cook this meat? How long should I steam this vegetable? It’s so easy to start with a meal service like Blue Apron because, even though their meals are really delicious and interesting, they’re actually very quick and simple to make. Cooking for only 20-30 minutes makes dinner feel much more manageable for a kid (and adults).
Also, everything comes ready to start cooking, and the recipe cards have simple step by step instructions along with pictures so you can easily follow along and know exactly how your dish should look. That’s so helpful for kids and adults!
2. Watch cooking shows.
There are lots of fun cooking and baking shows on TV. We love watching them with our boys because they’re entertaining for the whole family and they’re good, clean shows. But also I promise your kids are going to want to start helping in the kitchen after watching a few episodes.
When my boys were making one of our Blue Apron meals with me, they were so excited to “plate” their dinner, sprinkling the cheese and pouring the sauce just right so it looked fancy and pretty just like in the shows. It was the cutest thing!
3. Turn it into one-on-one time.
Kids crave one on one time with parents, and it can be hard to fit it in. But if you’re making dinner anyway, cooking together is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone. Get dinner on the table and get some one on one time with your child.
They’ll have fun helping you mix, pour, and taste test of course!
4. Let go of the reins a little bit and watch the magic happen.
Most kids are at least a little bit picky and will refuse to eat certain things on the table. I’m a firm believer that kids become more willing to try new foods if they’re connected to them somehow. Being in charge making the chicken makes them more likely to try it!
The key here is to not micromanage. Teach them how to stir or chop, and then let them do it. Don’t take over. If they feel like the dish was really made by them, they’ll feel more connected to it. And then they’ll probably eat more of it.
This Blue Apron meal we made together was Shrimp and Black Bean Bowls, and I asked Fos to be in charge of making the nectarine and green chile salsa. It was an unusual combination, and usually he would have never tried it at dinner. But since he made it all by himself, he was interested in trying it. And…I bet you can guess. He loved it!
5. Make it a fun environment.
If you’re getting frustrated about every spill or error, chances are greater than your child won’t want to help in the kitchen very often because it’ll feel stressful for them.
Instead, accept that there will be messes, and teach them to clean them up as you go so you don’t carry the entire cleanup burden and you don’t finish your meal with a humongous mess. Also accept that things won’t be perfect. Tell them it’s okay that it isn’t perfect, and that they’ll continue to get better the more they practice.
Here are a few ways to help make it a fun environment in the kitchen:
- Make a special apron for your child, or buy a plain one and let them decorate it with puff paints or paint markers.
- Turn on music and dance while you cook.
- Let them lick the beaters or have the first taste test.
- Give them lots of praise, and encourage your other family members to do the same when dinner is served.
- Alternate between making dinner and dessert. Dessert is usually more fun to make than dinner, but the more practice they get in the kitchen, the more confident they become in all areas of cooking. If they’re confident making cookies, they can definitely learn confidence in cooking pork chops.
Remember, everything takes practice.
The more I cook with my boys, the more we all enjoy it, and they’re learning so many skills. Remember, everything takes practice, so even if you’ve tried cooking with kids and hated it, give it a few more tries, and use these tips to help them get in the kitchen and enjoy it!
And if you want to try out Blue Apron, get $60 off your first three meal RIGHT HERE!
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photography by Aubrey Stock