Did you know that about 80 percent of Americans have at least one sibling? Although sibling relationships are often complex, siblings can provide a life-long partnership of support and protection. Psychologists say we learn a lot from our siblings, including communication skills, compassion, cooperation, conflict resolution and a deeper understanding of the opposite sex. If you have more than one child, it’s important that they partake in activities together and bond.
Celebrate National Sibling Day next Tuesday by doing something productive, adventurous and educational with the entire family, such as cooking an awesome meal. Make sure that each child is given age-appropriate tasks to prevent anyone from feeling left out.
Keep these tips in mind when cooking with your kids:
Come up with around 10 recipes that your family will enjoy eating and creating. Examples include pasta dishes, homemade pizza, ice pops, cupcakes and cookies. Show your kids pictures of the recipes and talk them over, allowing your kids to pick which recipe to make. Then, plan a trip to the grocery store together to buy all the ingredients – this can also be a great opportunity to teach them how grocery stores are organized.
First and foremost, make sure there aren’t any potentially harmful utensils or equipment out in the kitchen while you’re all cooking together. Then, teach your kids to be extra careful while in the kitchen. Stay mindful of food allergies, choking hazards and washing everyone’s hands regularly. Also, make sure you have mixing bowls, spoons and other items that are safe for your children to use during the cooking process.
Go all in with all senses
Cooking can be such a fun learning experience with kids, because they can see, smell, touch and taste food before it’s cooked or thrown into a meal. Teach your kids which foods are safe to eat raw and let them experiment with raw veggies, carbohydrates and other safe raw foods by letting them smash them, taste them, smell them and pull them apart.
Talk and teach
Explain what you’re doing throughout the entire cooking process and note every step’s importance. Give each kid an age-appropriate task, such as cracking eggs, stirring ingredients in a bowl, picking out the right sized measuring cup, etc. This is also a great opportunity for you to tell your kids where the food comes from (for example, apples come from trees, carrots come from the ground and ground beef comes from cows), as well as learning how to read nutrition labels.
Keep it fun
Keep it fun by playing family-favorite music in the background, singing, dancing or playing competitive cooking-related games.
Expect a mess
Expect the kids to accidently knock something over. Expect flour, water and other ingredients to spill on the counters or the floor. When you’re all done cooking or baking, show your kids how to clean up thoroughly and explain the importance of a sanitary kitchen.
Plan fun family activities where there is a common goal – like cooking. These constructive types of activities will teach your kids safety, teamwork and vital life skills. For more tips on how to keep your family engaged, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.