I’ve enjoyed summer as a stay at home mom, and now I ma experiencing summer as a working mom. Both scenarios have some unique challenges.
WhenI was a stay at home mom, I felt the pressure to make a “magical” summer full of outings, activities, and Pinterest-worthy projects.
As a working mom, I feel the pressure to do all of the above, PLUS, figure out how to keep my kids happy and healthy while I am at work. Now that I have teen sons capable of childcare, some of the pressure is off–but we still have the chore and clean house problem (more on that later this week). We also still want to make some great summer memories even with our limited time.
I’m a multi-tasker.
I know that dinner needs to be prepared each night, and I also know that this is when a certain pair of seven-year-olds wants to spend A LOT of time with me. I also know that I want to continue to teach my children good food habits. Healthy eating and living has always been a soapbox issue for me, and I have tried not to compromise it much since going back to work full time.
So, I use dinner prep time as a time to teach my kids to cook. I’ve always done this. (I have to admit, time in the kitchen with my kids is some of my favorite time with them–I think most of our photos together are in our tiny kitchen!)
I have some favorite resources.
My first is the Kids Cook Real Food video course by Katie Kimball at Kitchen Stewardship.
What it is:
- Over 30 Basic Kitchen Skills your child needs to make their own food – even if they only want to eat 5 foods right now
- Up to 24 Weeks of Lessons at your own pace
- Over 45 Professionally Produced Videos that will captivate your child’s attention, even if they have trouble sitting still
- Over 200 Pages of PDF Downloads – super skimmable for busy parents!
- Recipe Books Made Just for Kids (but with real dinners wayyyy beyond chicken nuggets and French fries)
- 3 Skill Levels to reach your child no matter what they have already done (or not) in the kitchen
- Quality Time with your Children in a chaotic world – that’s actually productive!
Why I love it:
This video course covers all fo the bases. Kattie is a great teacher and my kids love watching the videos and working alongside them. I can be a little (okay, a lot) bossy, so sometimes it is really great to have someone else telling my kids the same things I tell them about safety etc.but in a nicer way! I love the focus on real, whole foods. I love that Katie gives the kids the skills to cook with real kitchen tools alongside me (though my family still freaks out when they see a Facebook photo of my girls holding and using sharp knives!). I also love that this course covers beginning, intermediate and advanced levels so that even my 13 and 15-year-old sons can learn important cooking skills.
My second is the super-fun KidStir Subscription.
What it is:
KidStir is a monthly subscription box that packs fun, kid-sized tools, tasty, nutritious recipes, and food education. Each monthly kit contains:
o 3 step-by-step recipes covering all food groups
o 3 educational foodie pages
o 2 kid-sized cooking tools and themed activity materials
o A digital and printed shopping list
o 3 fun games and puzzles
o An e-newsletter packed with recipes and printables
Why I love it:
Let’s face it, kids love mail. When my girls received their first kit, we were cooking right out of the box! They are building up a collection of their OWN cooking tools, and also compiling their very own cookbook. (each 12-month subscription includes a special KidStir Binder for keeping all of the recipes in.) My girls enjoyed the bright graphics, the beautiful photography, and the readable recipes. Better yet, they enjoyed making the new recipes for the family right away (most of the ingredients were already in our kitchen!) Each month covers a different fun theme (so far we have explored the breakfast theme) and has easy, medium and difficult recipes. Each 12-month subscription also comes with a 2-year subscription to Family Fun Magazine or EveryDay With Rachael Ray–both of which are a FABULOUS source of cooking adventures for you and the kids.
I really enjoy spending this time with the kids in the kitchen each night. I have to make dinner anyway, so it is nice to have help. This is a great side benefit–I never peel carrots or potatoes anymore and I rarely chop onions–my little assistants do that for me! I’ve also found that when the kids help prepare a meal, they are a lot more willing to try new things. We like to add a “secret ingredient” and challenge the rest of the family to figure out what we used!
This week, I’ll be sharing a lot more kids in the kitchen tips on my Facebook Page, so make sure to join our community there!
Do you want to see some of our favorite family recipes and large family cooking tips? I have a whole section of the blog devoted to Cooking for 8!
What is your favorite thing to cook with your kids? Leave a comment!