Stress free cooking and kids, should not ever go in the same sentence. Well, that is, other than to say they shouldn't go in the same sentence. Believe it or not, there are plenty of things that you can do in order to make cooking with kids more enjoyable and less stressful.
How to cook with your kids stress free
Let's take a look at just a few tips for making cooking with kids, or your spouse for that matter, more enjoyable and much less stressful.
From the ripe old age of four, children learn to follow direction and duplicate tasks. This is a great time to begin working with them on delegating tasks. From cutting soft vegetables, like steamed broccoli, to pealing a potato, children can take a lot of the redundant tasks off of your hands; and they will be happy to do so.
Kids love to be in the kitchen, it makes them feel important and grown up because they believe the kitchen is reserved for "big people." Giving them a few tasks to perform helps to build their confidence and begins teaching them about kitchen safety. As they get older, you will find yourself needing to do less and less as they become more comfortable around the tools and foods of the kitchen.
Use kid-safe devices
While delegating tasks to kids, as mentioned above, might actually increase the amount of stress you have, making sure you have the proper tools will help to remove any of the stress that tries to creep back in. Here is a short list of tools and gadgets you should have on hand in order to make working with kids as stress free as possible.
Plastic or porcelain knives - will cut vegetables, but not fingers.
Self-contained vegetable chopper - kids get to pound on something while being helpful and dicing vegetables to your liking.
Garlic peeler and garlic press - no need to teach the smash and peel, let them roll the skin off and then squeeze the garlic until it turns to a semi-mush.
Wooden stirring utensils - wooden utensils work on all surfaces, no need to worry about scratching the non-stick skillet.
Small skillets and pans are good for little hands - these are the little 5 pans which are great to learn temperature settings and how to properly handle pots and pans.
Have them clean up afterwards
Sometimes, cooking with kids isn't stressful until it is time to clean up. This could be another delegated task, but just having them help can remove a big part of stress. Let one wipe the scraps into the trash while the other rinses the plate off to hand to you. Make cleaning up just as much fun as the cooking and it will not be a problem getting your kids to help out.
Cooking with your kids can be an extremely joyous and fun time. It takes a little thinking ahead, the right tools and a good attitude, but nothing you can't accomplish on your own. Call the little ones, give them a peeler and a task and watch as your stress levels are peeled off like that potato.