Cooking: Get the Kids Involved For Quality Time

With the hustle and bustle that goes on in families these days, it seems that nobody has time for each other anymore. Children are off to school, moms and dads are off to work, then it is soccer practice, piano rehearsals and homework for the kids. With such little time to be together, it is difficult to find time to spend together as a family. The money crunch adds another dimension to lack of family time. Still, when made a priority, family time does not have to be short or expensive. Pick a weekend night and don’t let anyone make other plans for that date. You may even want to pre schedule similar family time on a monthly or weekly basis.

Prepare a Great Meal Together

Instead of "pizza night" or the typical take out fare, plan a day that includes everyone taking part in preparing the evening meal. Children like to have choices in what they are given for their meals. Have your kids plan a meal together by offering them several menu items from which to choose. To keep things healthy, you may want to insist they pick something from every category: bread, dairy, vegetable, fruit, protein and the all important dessert! A great way to cook an easy meal is with a crock pot. Just make sure that everything on the choice list goes well together so when you put the food in the crock pot, you don’t end up with "supper surprise". Once the plan is laid out, it is time to go shopping.

Kids love to help their mother with the shopping. If your kids range in ages, it is a good idea to send them off in groups of two, with the older children being in charge of the younger. Give them each part of the menu list, making sure your children understand the brands you usually buy. As they come back and put food into the cart, have them add up the cost with a calculator. There is no harm in teaching a lesson in thriftiness and better appreciation for parental budgets while you are having fun.

The prep time for crock pot cooking is short as all that is needed is for the foods to be cut up and thrown in. Of course, only older children and parents should be handling the chopping and slicing, but smaller children can always get a start on dessert by mixing things up and greasing the pans. This is a great time for kids to learn about herbs and spices and how to use them at appropriate measurements. Don’t worry about teaching too many lessons, though this isn’t school but a fun family dinner!

While the food simmers in the crock pot, why not spend some time outside at the park or if the weather is bad, inside playing some games? Crock pots are great for preparation and the long cooking time can be used as an excuse to find something entertaining to do. If it has been a while since you were able to do this kind of family day, remember that Mom and Dad need to relax, too!

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About The Author, Jo Thompson
Jo Thompson just loves to cook and loves to cook with her kids. She has some wonderful ideas for getting the children involved in the kitchen. Find a few of her ideas at