Most people, at some point, baked a cake with their mom, dad, grandma, aunty, or older sibling. You might have happy memories of licking the cake batter off the spoon and burning your lips on a cake that you couldn’t wait for and tried to eat long before it had cooled down. Even if the best you ever managed was melting some chocolate to make cornflake cakes, and your family didn’t have much talent in the kitchen, you will remember these times fondly.
Nowadays, cooking and baking with your kids are even more critical than it’s ever been before. But, with busy lives, tablets, games consoles and other devices, and kids growing up much faster, it’s often an activity that gets neglected.
But, merely spending a little time with your family in the kitchen, baking cakes, cooking meals, and teaching basic skill still has so many advantages. In a time where childhood obesity is on the increase, and diseases like diabetes are becoming much more common in childhood, spending time together in the kitchen can teach good habits. You can teach your children about nutrition and the importance of fresh, homemade food and a varied diet and give them the early experience that they need to become adults with healthy habits, that are able to cook for their own families.
It’s also a great way to spend time having fun together, bonding away from technology. It’s a chance to have some fun as a family without having to spend a fortune on big trips and days out. But, it only works well if you can create a family-friendly kitchen where you are all safe, comfortable, and able to relax. No one should feel tense in your kitchen. It should be a safe space to relax and try new ideas.
The kitchen, however, is filled with dangers. There are knives, cleaning chemicals, appliances, and other hazards that could easily hurt a child (not to mention a clumsy adult). So, if you are looking to turn your kitchen into a family-friendly space, you might want to make a few chances before you let the kids loose. Here are some tips to help you.
If you want your kids to spend more time in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to move things around a little. Make sure sharp knives are kept either in a high cupboard, or a locked drawer and put baking equipment that the kids enjoy using in low cabinets so that the kids can reach them easily without hurting themselves.
If your kitchen is big enough, you might want to try to separate it into zones. Keep all of the appliances, utensils, and tableware that you don’t want the kids to use on one side, and make the other side extremely kid-friendly, adding toys, safe equipment, mats with pictures, little aprons and fun appliances like cupcake makers. Make this area so appealing that your kids will never want to venture to the more grown-up end of the room.
Make it Easy to Clean
Some kitchens seem just to wipe down, and they always look shiny and new. Others take hours of scrubbing after every meal to even look passable. If you want to use your kitchen with your children, you certainly don’t want the second kind.
So, make some changes to create an easy to clean room. Stone surfaces can be easy to clean, and hard wearing, so they last for a long time and always look great as long as you use stone granite cleaner from Rock Doctor. Flat materials for your cupboard doors are much easier to keep clean than anything with a border or deep-set pattern. Think about colors that don’t show up stains, and consider adding rugs to your floors, which can reduce slips and trips, and easily be cleaned while protecting your flooring.
You might be tempted to get cheap work surfaces, doors, and appliances while you’ve got young kids. But, sometimes investing in higher quality means that things will last longer, and cost less long-term.
Learn to Relax
Some of us are messy cooks. We spill, we’re not neat, and we don’t worry about mess and cleaning until we’re finished. Perhaps not even then. And some of us are neat and tidy cooks. We clean as we go, wiping down sides and washing up as we cook and bake.
If you are baking and cooking with kids, you need to learn to relax and be somewhere in the middle. You certainly don’t want to let things get that dirty that you cause hazards and hygiene issues. But, you don’t want to be that tense that your kids are scared to spill a little flour. Everyone should be able to relax and enjoy themselves in a family-friendly kitchen.
So learn to relax. A little extra mess is a small price to pay for a fun afternoon together as a family. It won’t take too much longer to clean up, and you can always get them to help, teaching them about cleaning up after themselves, as well as cooking.
If you’ve got space, your kitchen doesn’t just have to be about cooking. If you really want to make it the heart of your home, it should also be somewhere to eat. Or to sit crafting and doing homework together.
Add some seating, with a table and chairs, or benches along a wall. Then, you’ve got a space away from TVs and devices, where you can sit together as a family to eat meals. You’ll talk to each other more, and you’ll all enjoy eating, instead of being distracted by other things. It also means that you can all spend time together, even if you are doing different things. Your kids can sit and do homework while you cook.
Cool monochrome minimal kitchens are trendy and stylish. But, they’re not necessarily right for kids. Add splashes of bright color, and fun patterns and younger kids will feel much more at home and ready to have some fun.