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Tips for Cooking with Your Children
Adam shares his top tips on making cooking with your children at home, enjoying as well as safe.
Cooking with children can not only hold long lasting memories for them, but can also be a great way for them to discover a wide range of foods along with learning some fantastic life skills. Adam shares his top tips on making cooking with your children at home, enjoying as well as safe.
I spend a lot of time at home cooking, as you’d expect. Before kids, cooking was a really relaxing time for me, a time to switch off, listen to the radio, crack open a beer or glass of wine and mindlessly chop some veg.
With kids now its obviously completely different and pretty much the opposite of relaxing, but it’s still something I love doing with my toddler. My son has his own toy wooden kitchen full of foods so he already knows what each one is and when he cooks with me he gets to see the real thing up close. He can pick it up, smell it, taste it, peel it, whatever he wants. Plus I’m convinced there is a direct correlation with him eating more when he’s been involved with the making of it.
Safety is obviously critical. Instead of hiding everything sharp in the kitchen we put all the non-dangerous stuff (wooden spoons etc) into one drawer and taught him that this was the one drawer he could open. Now he runs around the kitchen merrily banging wooden spoons on pots but knows he can’t go near anything dangerous. We also spent a lot of time teaching Basti about the hob, kettle, boiling water etc and I obviously keep him at a safe distance from the action.
We have a very clear routine. Whenever I’m cooking he’ll run into the kitchen shouting ‘ladder, ladder’, by which he means he wants me to put a stepladder next to me so he can see what I’m doing. I’ll then give him some onions or garlic to ‘peel’ as he watches what I’m doing. I’ll also let him (carefully) lean across to the stove and stir whatever’s cooking. As well as cooking, I’ll also have his music on so it’s always an enjoyable experience. Then he’ll help me carry things over to the table and tell the rest of the house that ‘it’s ready guys’.As he gets older (he’s only two and a half) I can’t wait to involve him more in actually making the food. I do all my food shopping online these days so my son rarely goes to a supermarket (something I should change, but there’s just so little time) so I think cooking together is doubly important. He’s a curious little soul, always picking up onions, garlic, lemons, different veg just to have a sniff or a taste. I love it when I can smell food on him and I very much see cooking with my son as like everything else I try to do with him; something that’s fun but that will also teach him something.
So, I don’t really have any top tips for cooking with kids apart from go slow, involve them as much as possible, keep them safe, give them jobs and incorporate it into your routine. Toddlers want to be around their parents all of the time, including when you’re cooking. Yes it may take longer to cook that dish with your little one throwing onions around the kitchen but I bet they’ll remember it.
Great days are always fuelled by great food. Piccolo Foods makes healthy (and very tasty) baby meals and snacks to help you get the balance right every day. Made by a family who know what growing families are like.
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Meet The Piccolo family friends: Friend (noun) – a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.
Family friend (noun) – a friend who is also invested in your family unit.
Piccolo Family Friend (noun) – a parent who gets what it’s like to feed a family and helps you find your own way.
At Piccolo, we think parenting is a puzzle and feeding is the first piece. It’s a nugget of wisdom we’ve learnt over the years from speaking with our community of mums, dads and grandmas.. Over time, this has become a steadfast belief: feed them first and the rest will follow. Sleeping, talking, walking – those milestones that everyone talks/worries about – they’ll follow. That’s not to say feeding is easy. (Far from it). Here to share their stories and wisdom is our group of Piccolo Family Friends. A collective of parents who have each been there and found their own way. That first jigsaw piece can be viewed from a few different angles. What’s most important is figuring out what works for you. Once you do, the puzzle looks a bit less, er, puzzling.