How to Make Dinnertime a Breeze

(NC) Is dinner hour stressful in your home? Kathy Buckworth, mom of four and award-winning author of six parenting books, says that getting your kids involved in cooking simple recipes not only reduces dinnertime stress, but also creates a fun environment.

When it comes to cooking with kids, keep these simple tips in mind:

Start small: Based on their age and what you're comfortable with, get them to help by rinsing fruit or veggies, measuring ingredients, chopping, or mixing things together. You're the boss in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean your little ones can't be sous chefs. Give them a task, set them up, and let them get to it.

Brainstorm the menu together: Get kids involved in picking out recipes or let them pick a special meal to try one day a week. If time permits, buy the ingredients together and make a day out of it.

Keep everything you need at your fingertips: This goes for ingredients, tools, equipment and cleaning supplies. It'll make the process easier and more efficient for everyone involved. Make sure you soak pots, pans and bowls in Palmolive dish soap as you go to make clean-up easier. Involve your mini chefs in the clean-up as well – an inevitable part of learning the ropes of the kitchen.

Enjoy your meal together: After spending time preparing, sit down and enjoy it together. Keep an ongoing record or binder of all the recipes you try and rate your favourites as a family.

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