Put the Kids to Work!

When you’ve got kids, the holidays can seem extra crazy. From buying gifts and finding time to wrap them when the kids aren’t around to making treats for school parties, making the holidays special for your little ones is a time-demanding process, and one that can make it easy to let your nutritious eating habits slip a bit. One thing that can save your sanity, speed along dinner and give you a chance for some pleasant family time is turning dinner into a family affair. The holidays might not be the best time to teach the kids complicated new skills in the kitchen, to save your sanity, but you can definitely give them tasks to save you a little time. Bonus: kids who are busy making supper might be less inclined to keep interrupting you to ask when supper will be ready!

Girl cutting mushrooms

 Kids should play with knives.

Now, of course, you’re not going to hand your toddler a meat cleaver and leave the room. But you can give even pretty young children chopping jobs, such as cutting their own banana for breakfast with a plastic butter knife (the plastic ones are often smaller, lighter and easier for kids to handle) or chopping some of the salad vegetables with a kid-safe lettuce knife.

Let the kids get soaking wet.

Many ingredients need a good wash or rinse before they end up on the dinner plate, and kids can easily be set up to do the washing. Put a non-slip matter under their chair or step stool, and if you need them to stay clean and dry so you can take them out again after dinner, have them wear a waterproof painting smock while they’re washing. And don’t stress about the wet floor–that just saves you time washing it, right?

Let the kids do the running and climbing.

Cooking can be a minor workout when you’ve got to bring cans up from the basement, get down on your knees to dig for the right pan lid, or climb onto a chair to pull the box of past from the top shelf. If the kids have a safe way to get an ingredient or tool, assign them the task of fetching so you can play master chef more efficiently.

These suggestions barely scrape the surface of what kids can do in the kitchen. You know better than anyone what your kids are capable of, so use your imagination to challenge them to do their best. If you could use a little more inspiration, Family Education has some great tips for getting your kids involved in the kitchen safely.