Ask any parent—whether they’re in the office, work from home, or work in their home—and they’ll all probably tell you that the most important thing is quality time with the family.
I’ve always believed that there’s no quality time like the time spent around the dinner table.
This is often the only meal families have the time to eat together. It also gives everyone a chance to catch up and talk about their day. This is the experience I had as a young girl and one I have with my family nowadays too.
Another thing any parent will tell you? Getting your kids’ interest and keeping it is basically an Olympic sport!
When it comes to any new adventure, in the kitchen or outside it, it’s important that your kids enjoy what they’re doing. On the flip side, coming up with new ideas to keep them entertained can be nerve-wracking as a parent—trust me, I’d know :)
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few ideas that will have your kids elbow-deep in entertainment and give you some time to put your feet up for a well-deserved break. Try these recipes with your kids and enjoy a dinner that has plenty of love and warmth in it!
Tomato sauce: As parents, we know the struggle of trying to get our kids to eat as healthy as possible. While tomato sauce may not seem like the most exciting recipe, it will give your kids the chance to make a healthier alternative to that usual bottle of Heinz.
This is also a great base for a ton of other recipes like pasta dinners, pizza, homemade fries—the sky’s the limit!
Tacos: What’s not to love about tacos? They’re fun to make and to eat!
That’s why this is a great recipe for any family dinner. The whole family can get involved in choosing their favorite toppings. Your kids will also have plenty of opportunities to get creative with the construction of their tacos.
Ramen: I’m a big believer that the best way to learn about new cultures and countries is around a dinner table.
When you teach your kids to cook, you get to introduce them to new worlds, literally and figuratively. Trying new things, whether it’s tacos or ramen, will help them learn more about the world around them. It also helps them broaden their palates, which means less fussy eaters—an added bonus!
Risotto and salad: One way to make your kids eat more veggies—put it right next to a bowl full of pasta :)
This is a winning combination in my household and it’s an easy way to add more color to your dinner time! Once your kids learn how to make one salad, you can open up the field to a whole range of options. Veggies are much easier to swallow once they learn how to make them more fun.
One-pot Mexican skillet: Nothing cuts down on clean-up time like a one-pot dinner recipe!
This is a fun way to show your kids how easy cooking can be, even if you don’t have an arsenal of tools in your kitchen. The discovery that they can make a whole dinner in just one pot will change the way your kids see food. It will also help them see just how easy cooking can be.
Help your kids kiss boredom goodbye!
Whether you’re introducing your kids to a cooking class or teaching them yourself, remember to encourage them to have fun in the process!
If you’re ready to introduce your children to the kitchen, here’s my #1 tip from one parent to another: Always make cleaning up a step in the process. It’s definitely the recipe for a cleaner kitchen and the likelihood of you letting your kids back in it :)
If your kids have been indoors for the most part over the last few months, as a parent, it’s entirely possible you may be worried about all the time they spend playing video games or browsing the internet.
As a mom of two, I can tell you that I worry about the same things. I’ve found that it’s hard keeping kids engaged while they’re at home. There’s always the temptation to leave them to their own devices—literally!
My kids love doing different things. One way I managed to get them on the same page and keep them off their tabs and phones was—you guessed it—cooking. I took them to the kitchen and helped them make some of the things they love to eat.
In the midst of baking lemon tarts, apple roses and other favorites, I showed them why I love cooking and why I do what I do.
Since I evoked a love of cooking in them, (cooking and baking being my love language), this is also the way my kids, now adults, take care of me. They cook for me on my birthday and for Christmas, they whipped up probably the best steak dinner I have ever had! (Of course, I paid for it all, but I did not have to cook!!!).
If your kids are cooped up at home for any reason and you’re finding it hard to guide them to more purposeful pastimes, learning to cook could be a great way for them to spend their time.
Kids cooking classes help your kids have fun—the good kind!
As a teacher, this is what is most important to me. I want the kids that learn from me to have a good time and look forward to their cooking lessons.
Kids cooking classes can help your kids work through simple, easy recipes and give them a rundown on kitchen basics, like safety tips and cleaning up. They learn useful skills including how to cook, how to clean up, and have a great time, all at once!
Your kids learn to trust themselves and become confident in the kitchen (and everywhere else)
In my opinion, one of the biggest benefits of teaching kids how to cook and how to tackle a recipe is that they learn how to make decisions and trust themselves.
These, as I’ve learned, are the foundations of confidence. It’s something the school system just doesn’t teach our children.
Kids cooking classes fill this gap. When they’re conducted online, your kids are also exposed to their own kitchen. This doesn’t sound like much but the truth is that getting to know your kitchen—where your utensils are, how your stove and oven work, and the ingredients you have—gives your kids the knowledge they need to feel like they’re in control.
Your kids become more creative
For me, one of the best things about cooking for kids is that it teaches them to think on their feet.
This is something I learned from first-hand experience. It wasn’t just travelling around the world that helped me tap into my creative juices; it was all the experimenting I did with food and different cuisines.
Kids cooking classes will tap into this element of exploration and help your kids see your kitchen as a cooler, much safer science lab! Trying out different recipes, playing with different ingredients, and learning to think on-the-go in the heat of the moment will help your little ones unlock that part of their brain that allows them to think like dreamers.
Last and certainly not least—kids cooking classes give you a little breathing room!
If you’re still working from home or you’re just keeping your kids at home these days, keeping them occupied—without worrying about whether they’re up to mischief!—is easy with kids cooking classes.
The beauty of this is that while your kids have fun and learn, you get a much-needed break. I used to feel guilty thinking that as a mom, I shouldn’t need a break. The truth is that everyone, especially parents, needs to rest and find time for themselves.
For me, the only way I can do this, guilt-free, is by making sure my kids are having a great time too.
Before founding Bake Austin, Pascal Simon earned her degree as a Pastry Chef from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. A mother of two, Pascal is passionate about cultivating the next generation of bakers and welcomes children from all schooling backgrounds, whether public, private or homeschooled.