With hectic modern day schedules and getting through daily tasks parents are under an immense amount of pressure to juggle work and family. As we all know, the most challenging time starts when you arrive home after work, and there’s a list of things to do in the short time before your little ones go to bed. They need your attention, but you need to prepare supper to get them fed before they are over hungry, then bath time and story time etc.
Let’s be honest… It is here that we tend to give in to screen time, so we can just have a moment of peace in the kitchen to get dinner started. The kids are now quiet and entertained so you keep going to get a bit more done, 1 episode becomes 2 or more. Everyone seems happy, until you announce that supper is ready and it’s the end of screen time. Now all hell breaks loose. You enter a power battle because the kids want to watch more, and eventually it spoils dinner time, leaving you disappointed for wasting your time in the kitchen away from your kids and your mom-guilt takes over. Does this sound familiar?
So why does this happen? Children take a while to transform between tasks, so moving from screen time to dinner time all of a sudden is overwhelming for them, having nothing to do with the actual dinner itself.
How can we change it? Let’s first think about what we need:
– prepare dinner
– bond with children
– feed them a nutritious meal
– ultimately create a positive family experience where parents feel a sense of achievement and children feel loved and cared for
What if we swop screen time for kitchen time?
Here are some ideas you can try. Involve the little ones and draw up a weekly supper list, trying to include something they like, something fairly new and something easy to prepare with their assistance. Planning will not only save money and time with grocery shopping, but also take the pain out of impulse decisions on what to make the fastest. Then get them involved in the kitchen!
On your way home in the car you can start a discussion about what you are going to prepare for supper. Ask your child what they would like to help with. If you are for instance planning to make beetroot, mention that we need to scrub the beetroots in water first because they were grown in soil… and you wonder who will be able to help with that. Giving them a choice, wins them over already. Making supper together gives you the opportunity to get the chores done while bonding with your little ones, helping them develop motor skills and learn important life skills to become well-adjusted adults! And most important of all… making memories together.
Depending on your kids’ ages, you have to keep in mind though that there will be a mess and need for multiple cleanups, but when you keep the bigger picture in mind, just go with it.
Things that they can assist with is washing vegetables, dehusking corn, mixing, counting, basting, sequencing etc. However small the task might seem to you, it gets them to touch and smell the ingredients, creating a positive association with food. Kids are more prone to try foods that they have been involved in, giving them a sense of belonging and achievement.
Keep following our posts for ideas with ‘kids in the kitchen’.