Cooking with Emma (minus an iPad)

Sunday, 10 April 2016

I am sure that it's not surprising that I am not the perfect parent. I swear regularly in front of Emma. I lose my patience with her. I rely on the digital babysitter (aka the iPad + Netflix) when I need to get something make supper...or powernapping.

A while back, it was apparent that Emma was spending a bulk of her screen time in the "after daycare-pick-up time" of 4-4:30pm and into the evening. In my defense....ahem....Andrew works til at least 6 or 6:30 during tax season and Emma gets super whiny when she has to play by herself.  Sometimes I trick her into playing by herself...but most nights I am so tired of playing (since I do it a lot at work) that I am not that into playing plus try to get supper together. Everyone has parenting flaws and this is definitely one of mine (All hail the iPad!).

So recently, we decided to make a rule: No screen time until after supper, on weekdays. This limits her screen time to an hour to an hour and a half a day. More on weekends, less on the nights we have an extra-curricular activity.

It's hard.

She still whines about this rule when we get home and wants me to entertain her (hello only-child syndrome).

I have found a way to at least pass the time with her that is productive: get her involved in the supper-making process.

The first time I suggested it, she was gung-ho. Other nights she was luke-warm on it, but usually if I assign her a task, she gets into it. (Please realize that we are approximately 1 week and a half into this...)

I am really pleased with this decision to get her to help with supper for a couple of reasons:

1) It helps instill making our food from scratch, in her mind, early....making it "normal"

2) It keeps her entertained and away from the iPad.

3) If things keep going...I will be pouring myself some wine and watching her cook by the time she is 10.


We are starting with keeping the tasks simple.  Emma likes to grind pepper, sprinkle seasonings on meat and roasting veggies, juicing lemons, peeling carrots, pulling stems off of beans, pouring out cans of tomatoes and corn and mixing sauces.

We have done some hand-over-hand chopping of potatoes and veggies.  We also talk about food safety washing our hands after handling meat and washing veggies.

It gives an opportunity to talk about composting and putting stuff in the dishwasher as well!

So over all, a positive experience.  Still not as easy as plunking her in front of the iPad....but way more "feel good", while teaching her some life skills and values.

Hopefully, as the weather warms up we will also start to have her do things like pick herbs, carry stuff to the barbecue and maybe grow a vegetable to eat.

Wish we luck...if you follow the know my plant-killing skills are epic.

Do you involve your kids in cooking? Have any tips or neat kid-friendly tools for me?

Emma cooking waffles with bedhead. Sunglasses were not optional. (See the "Napnanny" behind her)

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