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Family Matters

Including Kids in Holiday Prep

November 1st, 2014

By Tammi Roy

We all know that the holidays are synonymous with entertaining, family meals and big meals in general. It’s the time of year to be merry … and indulge until you have to unbutton those pants. 

When you have kids, they always want to help with everything. Pulling off that amazing meal or dessert is stressful in itself, without the kids thrown into the mix.

Yet, kids do love to help and it’s a good opportunity to not only teach your child basic life skills, but it’s a time to connect and make memories with them.

Rather than let them tackle the big holiday bird, I suggest allowing them to help with simple cooking and baking instead. Start small and work your way up, they’ll be so proud to announce at the dinner table that they helped make a dish!

Tips for Cooking with Kids:

Timing is Everything: Pick a cooking/baking time when you’re not time crunched. Baking with kids can take longer, so it really lessens the stress and frustration if you don’t feel rushed or panicked to get finished in a timely manner.

Keep their age and skill level in mind: Depending on their age, give them tasks that they can do safely or ones that will be simple for them to complete. Have them do the simple mixing, adding pre-measured ingredients or rolling dough. Lets them be hand on, yet within their means.

Make it Fun: Rather than say, ‘dump this in there’ {etc}, explain what you are doing and why, making it an educational experience for them. For example: Tell them it’s called flour, explain what it’s made of and even have them feel it. Give them a little apron too – it’s a chance to play chef after all.

Be Prepared: Have kids wash their hands before helping and keep a cloth for messes at arms reach. It will happen and that’s okay – it’s expected. Also, if you have more than one child, they might compete for space and attention. Divide tasks evenly and ensure each has plenty of their own space to help.

Clean Up: Having kid helpers also means you have help to clean up when done. Sweeping, wiping, loading the dishwasher and putting away items – have everyone pitch in and clean the space.

Celebrate: Don’t forget those high-fives and thank you’s to your little helpers. Kids will feel valued, proud and accomplished in their hard work, which teaches them to put 100% into any task.

Tammi is the mom of three girls (twins plus one) and is passionate about photography, food and travel (with luck, all at once). Her thoughts on parenthood and all the chaos in between can be found on her popular parenting blog, My Organized Chaos. While she has been widely recognized as a leading Canadian woman in social media, she is an ordinary mom often found pacing the kitchen wondering what to cook for dinner.

Tags: advice, eating, event

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