The first few weeks of this lockdown were stressful to say the least. We had to juggle our own work, household chores and home-schooling whilst trying not to freak out about a global health pandemic. It was overwhelming and intense, but we’ve started to see that this is a temporary thing, and there are some perks to it.
We are always rushing around and never have enough time for our family. We’re always going somewhere, catching up on housework or just too exhausted to fully invest in fun family time, but now we have got that time.
There’s no school run, no late nights in the office and no more commuting. We finally have time to be a family and to do things we’re always putting off. We’ve been given a gift that we’ve always wanted- time.
One thing we’ve been doing is cooking and baking together. We’ve whipped up cupcakes and accidentally burned brownies, cooked up a tasty roast and made way too much pasta. Cooking with the kids has become part of our daily routine, however, as enjoyable as it is, it can be a tad stressful.
Luckily, we have four golden rules that help make cooking/baking with the children easier and stress-free.
Recipe Pick N Mix
There has been the odd argument about what we should bake or cook in our house, but one thing that has helped is having a recipe pick n mix. What we do is put the names of dishes or baked goods into a bowl and every day one member picks one out, but make sure they’ve got their eyes closed. The mystery element makes it a little bit more exciting, and nobody gets left out. Just be sure to stock up on ingredients in advance!
The Kitchen Commandments
Baking and cooking with the children is such an exciting thing to do, but you must be safe. Boiling water, hot ovens and sharp knives all scream danger so making sure the kids are cautious is essential. One thing that helped us is creating a list of kitchen rules, which we’ve called ‘The Kitchen Commandments’, that the kids have to follow. Decorate the sign and put it somewhere where everyone can see so they’re constantly reminded of the rules, like washing hands, only letting mum use the sharp knives and always using oven mittens if the older children are taking out food.
You know that boring part of baking/cooking when you’re all just cleaning up and waiting for your food to be ready? Why not fill the time with music or even an audio book? We have been listening to Disney soundtracks and old childhood stories as we tidy up the kitchen. It’s the perfect way to stop the kids from getting bored and you can even have a mini dance party whilst your bread is baking away.
There’s nothing better for your brain than being creative. We have found that experimenting with different recipes is one of the best ways to keep us entertained during lockdown. However, the last thing you want is your four-year-old pouring half a bag of sugar into your lasagne, so we’ve come up with a competition that channels your creativity, but protects your dinner too. Divide the family into teams and lay out sandwich ingredients on the table. Each team should have their own station with fresh bread and whatever sandwich fillers they like, be it lettuce, chocolate buttons, cheese, strawberries or peppers. It’s a fun and safe way to get the kids preparing food.