Parenting is one of the most beautiful but also the most difficult jobs you will do in your life. In addition to creating miniature versions of yourself, you have a responsibility to ‘reshape’ and prepare them for life. You have to be consistent and dedicated, listen to the advice of experts, but most of all, you have to trust yourself. Parents always know best.
Speaking of experts, they agree that today’s methods of upbringing are quite different from the old ones. Not everything has changed in the right direction, given that technology has found its place even in raising kids. As you can’t run from that, you have to use it responsibly and combined it with proven methods.
That said, parenting can also be exhausting sometimes. As parents, you may think that it’s wrong to ask for help and do it by yourself instead. Well, that’s not true. Everyone needs help sometimes, and in fact, a helping hand can actually help you be more present with your kids and be a better parent. Hiring a long-term person, like an au pair (https://www.goaupair.com/host-families/view-au-pairs/), who can give you a hand with things in exchange for room & board, and a stipend, could really help you focus on spending more quality time with your kids. You will not be rushing around to get chores done, which frees up your time for you to use constructively.
One of the things that always works is spending quality time with children. It means a commitment to them, but also doing things together. For example, you can employ your youngsters in the kitchen. As seen here, they will work alongside you and adopt some life hacks. Making cookies is an ideal activity as it allows kids to be creative and use fine motor skills.
Find Kid-Friendly Cookie Recipes
The Christmas season is one of the best times for parents to teach their children to make cookies, as most people can’t imagine the holidays without these sweet treats. In general, cookies are cheap and easy to make. So even if you do something wrong, you can easily make another batch. The point is not in making a delicacy but spending quality time together.
Find some basic dough recipe that doesn’t include too expensive ingredients. For most of them, you’ll need milk, sugar, butter, flour, and eggs. These are all foods your kids already know, so you can show them how to use them for making their favorite cookies.
Also, let your youngsters choose the add-ons. If they prefer chocolate, then chocolate chip cookies will be. Avoid intense flavors like rum, mint extract, or bourbon vanilla. Talk to older kids about their favorite mix and encourage them to invent their own cookie recipe.
Let Them Get to Work
You can start by letting your kids do simple tasks, like cracking eggs or mixing the butter with sugar. If the pieces of eggshells fall into the bowl, ask them to take them out. That will help them develop some fine motor skills as they will employ their fingers. As for mixing, show them how to break butter lumps with a fork or spatula.
Avoid fast recipes that include using a food processor or kitchen blender to mix all ingredients in a minute. That’s not the point. If the recipe allows it, knead the dough by hand. It can be a dirty job. But don’t be one of those mums that don’t let their kids get messy. Also, hand kneading might take a while, but you can spend time with your youngest ones telling jokes, laughing, or just talking about how their day was.
Make Rolling Fun
Take a piece of dough and give it to your child in a separate bowl. Tell them to do the same thing as you and add the extras they want. If you have a school kid who knows to use a knife, ask them to chop chocolate, nuts, marshmallows, raisins, etc. before adding. Always keep an eye on them when doing this.
Rolling the dough comes after combining all the ingredients. Make sure that your countertop is well-floured, as it will be messy. Your little chef should wear an apron, too. Once this is done, you can work with your children to form the cookies.
For extra fun, use molds in any shape your youngest ones love. Let them cut the dough however they want. That’s how you encourage their creativity and independence. You can even show them some tricks, like using a cookie press or decorating with a fork.
Let Them Decorate
Baking cakes is the only activity that should not involve children, at least until adolescence. Until then, you can let them grease a baking sheet or pack cookies onto a tray. Explain to them that these sweet treats will spread, so they need a little more space. After that, you put and take the pan out of the oven.
The next fun cookie-making activity involves decorating their baked specialties. Some of the different toppings you can choose from are melted chocolate, jelly, maple syrup, any icing you regularly use, caramel, etc. To make things a bit more interesting, you can also place several bowls with dried or fresh fruits, chocolate chips, and candies, and let your kids be the artists.
Don’t Forget to Clean Up
From an early age, kids should learn that housework is not the responsibility of just one (mostly female) family member. Thus, after making cookies, you should show children how to clean the silestone countertops here and how to wash dishes– tell them that these are the last (and mandatory) part of this activity.
The easiest way to do these can be by presenting them as games. You can even find some songs on Youtube that will encourage your kids to participate. Sing along. Even if your child is not actively involved in this business, make sure it is while you are doing it. In time, they will be interested and just offer you help.
Of course, you are not expected to give a preschooler a burnt tin to scrub. But rinsing or wiping washed dishes are excellent activities that are safe. You can also ask your child to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Older children can start washing the dishes with the obligatory use of gloves and parental supervision.
Kids love the sense of being helpful. So you should encourage their participation in regular daily activities from an early age. Let them be your little helpers while cooking. Make baking cookies a family tradition for holidays. You can also experiment with different combinations if you want. You can even encourage them to come up with their own recipe. One day that will be the tastiest sweet you’ve ever eat.