be patient, don't think about the mess, stay calm, count to ten before giving instructions, breathe deeply, smile, resist the temptation to join in and do the cookie cutting for them (you'll end up doing it all too perfect and too fast and the kids will be frustrated) .
Oh well, sometimes the mental coaching doesn't really work and I or the kids end up frustrated or sulky. Great cookies though just like the ones you see in the TV adverts!!
Well, life is not a TV advert. Kids aren't that smiley, clean, smart and funny. On the contrary, they are clumsy and mucky and their jokes aren't funny, yet they keep going on and on knocking knocking and who's there- in their desperate need for attention.
However, on those occasions when do manage to keep it together, well the cooking turns out as a dog's dinner, the kitchen a mess but the kids and I happy. We don't have a dog, but the kids will eat most of the cookies anyway, regardless of how uncooked in the middle or burned on the edges, or crumbled they are. They eat them because they made them like that and they gave them names like fatty or skinny, they had fun and eating badly turned out cookies reminds them of the fun we had during the cooking time.
So, I realized that cooking with kids doesn't have to be boring and frustrating and doesn't need mental coaching ...( but a glass of wine handy helps) It just needs to FOCUS on the right things. I need to focus on the activity and the fun, the messier the funnier and happier and the better their jokes. I stopped thinking about the end result. I don't want results anymore. I want quality time spent with my kids. I want to laugh myself silly at their knock knock made up jokes. And guess what: I am cooking a lot more with my kids lately. And I am having fun. There is no secret just a list of ingredients for a Happy Baking with Kids Time:
- Time: I know most of us can bake a delicious and fetching tray of shortbread fingers in less than half an hour and have the kitchen clean by the end of it. With kids give yourself at least an hour and a half.
- Glass of wine - for getting in the mood.
- Chocolate chips - not necessarily for the cookies
- Music - so the voices can get louder and everybody can get carried away
- The baking ingredients - these should be already weighed
- Positive attitude
- Focus on the fun: are the voices loud enough; are there enough flour clouds in the kitchen; do the kids have batter mustaches and chocolate covered teeth?
- Do not use your cookie cutters perfectly! Try and make some mistakes: Let the head of the gingerbread man fall off and stick a leg on it instead This will urge your kids to show you how it's properly done!!! - and then you'll see perfection, who knows you might even get a perfect cookie out of the oven - but don't expect it.
- Do not clean! Let the kids do it, while you watch the oven, we don't want those brownies burned do we?
- Praise them, smile and while you're at it, trey and see beyond the dirty faces, silly jokes, clumsiness. Try and see the wonderful little beings they are and the confident persons they are becoming thanks to your hour and a half spent with them in the kitchen, working undercover on teaching them social skills. Because I never said the kids should know how to cook. They should learn how to be confident and tolerant to their and other's faults and relate with others in a happy friendly manner. Happy cooking!!!
BATTERFINGER Spatula - $9.89
BATTERFINGER SpatulaIf you think cake frosting licked off your finger is the absolute best thing in the world, you need the BatterFinge Spatula. This funny finger-shaped spatula will remind you of being a kid again, sneaking a load of batter or frosting out of the mixing bowl while your mom is baking a cake. Who can forget how awesome that tasted. Men and women alike are going bonkers for this great kitchen novelty. It's made of a durable food and dishwasher safe rubber and is 9" in length. With the Batter Finger, you may start baking more just to stick it in the bowl.
BATTERFINGER Spatula Features: