I believe that quality time is crucial in raising happy, secure, and self-sufficient children. It may be hard to find time to really squeeze in extra time for bonding with your kids into you’re jam-packed schedule, but I have found that taking those extra few minutes have been beneficial. The only family time we really had for a long time was for dinner. I grew up in a household where family was spent together and I made sure my children experienced it, too. Our dinner time is when the kids get to talk about school, home life, their friends, or just anything they feel they want to talk about. The only condition is that I have to listen fully which in turn makes them feel secure about their opinions and thoughts. I decided to take dinner time a step further though and brought the kids into the kitchen while I’m cooking or preparing food. Turns out they’re a lot more capable then I thought!
The first item we decided to make together had to be both easy enough to make that the kids (or me!) wouldn’t get frustrated but tasty enough they’d be excited to make something new. I decided on a plethora of popsicles. Everything from cookies and cream pudding pops to orange juice and pineapple popsicles began to pile up in our freezer. The only thing the kids actually needed help on was the frozen yogurt pops because a grownup needs to use the blender. We spent nearly an hour coming up with different popsicle ideas and later that evening after dinner we all got a popsicle and enjoyed our work. You can find plenty of popsicle recipes online but you’re welcome to use mine, too, at my blog, http://brattybudgets.blogspot.com/2012/06/popsicle-time.html.
The next item was a super easy vegetarian dinner. The only ingredients you need are a can of black beans (drained), a can of diced tomatoes with peppers, a can of corn (drained), 2 cups of prepared instant rice, shredded cheese (however much you’d like), and tortillas. Have your child put all the ingredients but the tortillas into a bowl and mix. Microwave the mix just long enough to be warm and then they can spoon it into the tortillas and roll into burritos. Dinner served! Any leftover tortillas can be used the next day for a snack before meals, too. Either put some shredded cheddar in them or a little butter with cinnamon and sugar and stick in the microwave for a couple seconds. Roll up and enjoy.
Depending on how old your children all they may be ready to help out with cooking on the stove (with your help, of course). With a little guidance I found my 7 year old daughter was able to master pancakes. I was amazed and she was beyond proud of herself. She even knew when to flip them on her own. My son is 9 and isn’t as interested in cooking as she is, but he does want to be included. He will crack the eggs, grease pans, and gladly lick any spoons that have chocolate on them.
As you and your child discover more recipes you can work together on, you’ll find that quality time begins before sitting at the table. Not only are you helping your child learn skills they will need but they are discovering how much they are capable of. Now if only they could be just as happy helping wash dishes….