Can you believe we’re only a week away from Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is a big deal in our household and I try and include the kids in whatever activities that we have planned for that day. Whether your kids are barely toddling around or are old enough to do some of the actual cooking, they can be involved in the Thanksgiving meal preparations. It may take a little longer to cook the meal if you enlist the help of the young kids, but the rewards far outweigh the inconvenience of having the kids in the kitchen with you. Here are 3 tips for Tips for Cooking Thanksgiving Meal with your Kids.
Relax your Expectations
The odds are that you will end up with more of a mess when the kids get involved, but the memories you create around the kitchen counter are priceless. You might want to turn on relaxing music to keep the environment calm and then relax your expectations so you can enjoy the moments. You may end up with flour on the floor or cranberry sauce on the counter, but remember that they are learning.
One mistake some parents make is that they don’t make their kids finish the cooking job. When you create a mess, you must help clean it up. Don’t let them off easy. Show them how to cook, but then help them see it through to the end where your counters are clear and the floors are clean.
Keep it Simple
Think about the kids ages and skillset. Can they handle the mixer? Are they old enough to help chop the vegetables for the dressing? Are they better equipped to just pour in certain ingredients while you handle the actual cooking? Whether they need a stepstool to reach the counter or are towering over you, give them a job they can safely handle.
Allow their Input
Kids of all ages have some very strong opinions. Let them help plan the menu or the cooking schedule. You may need to steer them in the right direction, but give them some options that will allow them to feel like they are contributing to the planning.
Would you rather help fix the mashed potatoes or the dessert? Do you think we should put nuts in all the cookies or just half the batch? Asking them questions will give them ownership in the meal and create skills for future years.
Do you let your kids help with holiday meals? Got any tips to share that have worked for you and your kids? I’d love to hear!