We spend so much time and energy cooking meals. We even spend a lot of time in grocery stores and planning our meals for the week. Children want to be involved in cooking and they like helping out in the kitchen. In the last couple months, we have had several posts with recipes, tips and even utensils that can help you involve your special needs child in cooking. We hope this overview can get your mind stirring again and help you find ways to include your child in the cooking process.
Seasons present many flavors, smells, and shapes that can be incorporated with cooking. Fall is just one of these seasons. It can be easy to use pumpkins, apples, and the colors of the changing leaves. It is also a great time to include your child. It is great sensory and a great time to learn more about the qualities of fall. For example, you could make fall colored leaf cookies, pumpkin muffins, apple crescents, candy cornucopias, or even pumpkin seed trial mix. Let your child help throughout the cooking processes and allow them to be in charge of the timer. They can also help pour and stir the ingredients. If you want to know more about the fall recipes and understand when your child can specifically help, click here.
Preparing an important dinner can be a busy time and getting your child involved may seem stressful. Knowing some ways to involve your child will help decrease the stress and will let your child feel included and needed. Here are some of those ways:
- Give them jobs that are meaningful – helping with the meal or setting the table
- Let them pick out a special dessert to make with you
- Allow them to help come up with the menu for the night
- Have your child make decorations and decide on the display location
To read more about involving your child in Thanksgiving prep, click here. You can even use these ideas towards other holidays.
There are also good bakes that your child can be involved with around the winter holidays. Baking is always done around holidays and since you are probably super busy, including your child with baking can be a way to spend quality time. Your child can help stir all the ingredients for the dough and help roll it out by flattening it with their hands. They can also help decorate and be the time watcher to make sure the cookies don’t overcook. Two fun recipes include gingerbread cookies and glitter ball cookies. To see these recipes and a few more, click here. The post also states specific ways special needs children can be involved in each recipe.
Now that we covered involving your child in recipes, lets go over eating utensils for children with Cerebral Palsy. Using traditional utensils may be frustrating for your child and providing resources that can help may be needed. There are alternative forks, spoons, bowls, and cups to make your child’s life easier. There are padded spoons and forks, cuffs, and grips. There are also bowls designed to prevent spilling and to make scooping food less difficult. Lastly, there are cups with cutouts, large handles, and soft cups that are designed to make drinking easier for a special needs child. These products may be able to provide more independence to your child and give them their confidence back. To read more about eating utensils and to check out some sites that sell utensils, click here.
Cooking with your child may present some challenges, but understanding how to involve them is crucial. They will feel needed and will love being involved in something that adults partake in. Including them can create learning opportunities and provide a fun, tasty sensory. Providing eating utensils that are designed for children with special needs will help bring back independence and give your child more confidence. We hope this cooking overview reminds families to include their child – when possible – in the cooking process and provide ideas of how to do so.
If you have any questions about Cerebral Palsy or how to include your child in cooking or questions about alternative eating utensils, don’t hesitate to call us at (800) 692 – 4453 or fill out our contact form on Facebook or our website.