It’s dinner time, you’re exhausted after work, your kids are clamoring for attention and starving. You want to spend time with your kids, feed them and wind up your night. What do you do? Spending time together in the kitchen kills all kinds of birds, beyond the one you’re roasting for dinner! You get the help you need, you spend time with your family, and they are proud to help. Whether it is holiday baking or nightly dinner and cleanup, food is the best way to keep the family involved with each other, regardless of the ages of your kids. Mealtimes are important, but dinner doesn’t have to be about mom or dad doing all the work while the kids watch TV.

If you have older kids, you can be helping them prepare for adulthood while enjoying the extra pair of hands in the kitchen.  It’s a good time (while you’re there to supervise) to put older kids to work cutting, chopping and following recipes. With a little guidance, your teen can put together a family meal.

Elementary age kids love to use their newly-acquired reading and math skills to help with recipes. Let your child read the recipe and help put in the ingredients. Double the recipe and let your child do the math to determine how much of each ingredient you’ll need. They’ll be having so much fun they’ll forget they’re learning.

Even young children can be involved and do their part by setting the table. Show your preschooler how to fold a square paper napkin into a simple diagonal half-fold. Voila! The square is now a triangle! Your toddler gets to practice identifying shapes while adding a special touch to the table setting. Everyone can play a part, whether it’s soup and sandwiches or a five course holiday extravaganza.