Baking with kids…I think we all as parents have this ideal dream in our heads what baking with children is like, then this turns out not to be the case… please be reassured you are not alone!
Recently I put out on our social media a question to our parents to understand what is their main stresses when cooking with their kids, I’m going to share a couple with you and my top tips for these.
The squabbling begins!
If you have more than one child, we know this situation very well! They both or in my case all 3 want to join in, they are arguing who is doing what and you find yourself thinking why I have done this to myself! Well, there are two ways you can tackle this situation:
- The most important thing that I find is to lay down the rules from the start! Ask who would like to do some baking? They generally all say yes. Then I start to lay down the ground rules;
- We are going to make this recipe today between us so we are going to decide now what jobs you are going to do and we are going to take it in turns to help. You can all decorate cakes at the end.
- If they are a bit younger & you think they may not stick to a plan like that then you could split the recipe so you still make it but split the ingredients in half and put them together at the end.
- Or, we are going all make this recipe today and we are going to freeze half of each batch for another day.
They are so excited I have no idea what is going in the bowl!
This normally applies to younger kids, they don’t really understand what is going on and they think its fun that mummy has got all these ingredients out and they are just want to put everything in the bowl at the same time!
- Explain what you are going to do with them, what you are going to make and what they need to do to make it.
- If they start to tip all of the flour in, calmly say just wait we need to weigh this out first. Show them what you mean and let them spoon the flour on to the scales. Don’t worry if it goes everywhere.
- Tell them each step of the recipe, get them to guess the ingredients and use hand actions to show them what they are going to do, get them to do the hand actions.
- Turning it into a fun game with carefully laid out instructions will lead to a calmer bake!
Importantly remember to be calm they will respond much better and keep the ingredients out of arms reach.
The younger sibling causing chaos!
The younger sibling who is at that age where they want be involved with everything their older brother or sister is in too and then causes chaos because you spend all your time battling with them as they tip all the flour on to the floor! Don’t despair! Try these tips:
- If they are still in a highchair put them in it and give them some interesting ingredients in plastic bowls to play with, so for example bowl and spoon they can bash! Flour and some butter to play with and they can feel their textures between their fingers.
- Sit next to the younger sibling with your older child on the other side of you, that way you can give attention to both.
- Have all the ingredients out ready to go but away from the younger one’s reach.
- Explain to the older sibling what you are going to do and how you are going to keep the younger one occupied. Let the younger one join in so for example, we are now going to mix our butter and sugar together get them both to do it. It does not matter that the younger one may not have the right ingredients, he does not know that, but he will feel a part of what you are doing it.
- If you want to do it to spend some bonding time with your older child, then you can plan to do it during the younger one’s nap time.
Above all remember the importance of cooking with your children, it develops and encourages them to be independent, it develops their creativity and fine motor skills. Reading the recipe together and measuring out the ingredients develops their reading and maths skills.
Do not worry about the mess, it can be cleaned up and importantly they need to learn that cooking isn’t just about the fun stuff, you need to tidy up too!
It does not matter if it’s not perfect, if they have enjoyed themselves and are smiling ear to ear then it is all worth the while in my book!
Why not join us for our weekly Online Cookery Clubs or if you want some easy recipes to make with your kids at home then try out our monthly baking boxes? You can find all the info on our social channels.