5 Tips for Holiday Cooking with Kids

Friends, the struggle is real! Preparing the house and cooking up a huge meal for company while feeling pressure to manage the mood and social entertainment of your kids...not anyone's idea of fun!

 

But you're the only adult in the house and folks are coming to your place to eat...no stopping that...! What do you do to maintain everyone's sanity?

 

I offer you the strategy of putting those children to work!

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Won't it be more work for them to help me?

 

I admit, your children most likely aren't trained sous chefs whom you can hand a prep list and leave them to execute it independently...BUT...there are some ways the gang can help you.

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5 Tips to Get Your Kids Cooking (and Actually Helping You!)

 

1. Give Them Their Own Station

We all love our independence, no one more than kids do!!! Set your chefs up with a cutting board and dish towel and clear off some surface area all around them. (If you think they'll be distracted by the towel, you can leave that near you.)

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2. Age Appropriate Tasks

Your young chefs can do more than you think! 

  • Kids as young as age 4 can peel carrots (think of this refrain: “push it away, push it away” when showing them which direction to peel).
     
  • Wash off a pair of their scissors and let your kids snip herbs!
     
  • Kids can also wash potatoes! Give your helpers a bowl of water and a vegetable brush and they can give the potatoes a nice a bath!

3. Short Tasks

It’s no secret that the attention span of most kids is quite short. When you’re giving your helpers a kitchen task, dedicate no more than 10 minutes at a time to a task. Give them one task at a time, preferably one that they will a result once they’re finished. It’s ok if they get tired; let them go and they’ll probably come back!

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4. Remove Distractions

  • When they’re done with a tool, take it away immediately! This way, your little helper won’t start playing with kitchen gadgets and discovering what other interesting ways the kitchen utensil can be used!
  • Also, it probably goes without saying that there shouldn’t be any screens on to distract them while they’re cooking!
     
  • Maybe consider putting on some soft music if they need some sound in order to concentrate.

 

5. Manage Waiting

Many of the holiday foods that you’ll be cooking require cooking time or additional steps.

 

This can be hard to understand for a young child. While the food is cooking or rising, have another activity ready for them to do in the meantime. This could be a holiday self-directed craft or coloring sheet.

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Most of all, know that these times cooking together are the stuff of memories. They’ll remember how you spent time cooking together and they’ll cherish the time with you. Take pictures and make sure you’re in them, too!

If you'd like this handy list in a printable form, click here