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5 Tips to get kids cookin'

A freelance writer based in Memphis, TN, Wendy Marie embraces the art of food, entertainment and laughter and is dedicated to sharing her passions with others. If she's not dining at and blogging about a locally owned restaurant, then sh...

Kids in the kitchen

Besides the obvious benefit of extra helping hands, getting your kids into the kitchen sparks interest in food, combats picky eating, bolsters math skills and teaches life skills. Additionally, helping in the kitchen and seeing a meal through from start to finish boosts kids' self-esteem. Moreover, it allows you to sneak in some bonding time. Here are five tips to get your kids cooking in no time.

family cooking pasta

1 Select the menu.

Kids will be more amenable to getting into the kitchen if dinner incorporates their favorites or something they want to try. This first tip is as simple as asking kids what they'd like to have. Maybe it's a favorite, an entrée they always order at that one restaurant, or a dish they saw on TV. Allowing kids to select the menu shows them that you value their opinions, and that'll make them want to see the meal through.

2Shop for ingredients together.

Whether you go to the neighborhood grocery store, farmers market or roadside produce stand, take the kids along. Let them find all the necessary items to make the meal complete.

3Prep & prepare.

There's something for kids of every age and ability level to do in the kitchen. Whether it's washing fruits and vegetables, cutting and dicing recipe ingredients, or measuring, mixing and stirring, ask your kids how they'd like to help, and entrust them with that task. Be ready to assist if necessary, but otherwise, allow them to learn and cultivate new culinary skills.

4Taste-test.

Kids will hang around the kitchen if they know they'll get an early taste of the deliciousness. Let them be the official taste-testers. Ask them their opinion of the dish so far and if anything needs to be added.

5Generate excitement.

Excitement is contagious. Show kids that cooking is fun, and they'll want to do it again. It may sound simple, but this tip is paramount to successfully getting your kids in the kitchen. Show them that cooking is fun and exciting. If they can see that, in the kitchen, their opinions matter and their efforts produce tangible results, they'll continue to spend time there.

Adopt these tips to get your kids in the kitchen tonight. It will make dinner a breeze, and your kids will learn a life skill.

More back-to-school food ideas

Best after school-snacks for busy families
Ways to keep kids full longer
Foods to fuel the day

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