Simple Ideas To Help Get Your Child Involved In The Kitchen

Sharing the joy of food and cooking is one of my favourite things about being a parent. 

Sharing the joy of food and cooking is one of my favourite things about being a parent.
I have always been a foodie but I knew that there was no guarantee that my child would share my love for all things tasty.
From a very young age, I have tried my best to include him in the things that go on in the kitchen. It’s a shared space where we can both explore the different processes involved from getting the food from the shelf to the table and I really enjoy experiencing that together.
Here are some of the simplest ways you can begin to encourage an interest in food for your child. You might also be pleasantly surprised by just how helpful little hands can be.

1. Let them be involved in the food shopping
I’m not talking about a trolley full of kinder treats here because I know that would be my son’s first choice all day every day. But don’t be afraid to ask for your child’s opinion as you walk around the supermarket. I’ll ask my son “should we get these strawberries or those ones?” while I hold up two boxes. He’ll choose one and I’ll compliment his choice and say that I can’t wait to try them when we get home. He loves that I value his opinion and he’s now excited to try them when we get home too. Later that night he’ll tell Daddy that he chose them all by himself.

2. And in the same way – enlist the help of little hands to put the shopping away
It takes longer but it’s a really good way to teach your child about different food groups. I’ll ask him to put all the fruit together and to put all the yoghurts into the fridge because “that’s where yoghurts go right?”. We might then go on to talk about why yoghurt goes into the fridge but apples don’t have to.

3. Pick up a children’s vegetable peeler and knife
We got ours from the Cool Food School website and it provides great fun. While I’m whizzing through the chopping and food prep I’ll set my son up with a little table and a potato/carrot etc. He loves to know that he’s helping and the sense of independence is really great too.

4. Washing up is one of those things that simply has to happen after food prep so let the kids see that
The sooner the better that this is normalized for them. While I scrape the plates and put away the condiments I let my son stand on a stool and “wash” his own plastic plate. It only takes a minute or two, and it’s a bit messy, but he knows that’s just part and parcel of dinner time now.

5. Ask questions about meal times to encourage positive food talk
On the way home from pre-school I always ask my son what he had for lunch and it always amazes me that he remembers immediately. It’s like a game now. In the same way, I might ask him tomorrow what was his favourite part of last night’s dinner and if we should make it again soon. He loves the remembering and offering his opinion and ideas.

Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

Read more by Tracey
{{ post.excerpt }}
{{ post.content.formatted }}

What is Family Friendly HQ?

Family Friendly HQ is Ireland’s trusted parenting community, dedicated to mums and dads, and families of all shapes and sizes.

Read more about us