cooking with kids

Cooking with your Child on the Spectrum

A great way to connect with your child and work on their skills is to cook together. Although there are different challenges when your child is autistic, this activity is still a great way to work with your kid on communication and sensory skills. We also love this technique to incorporate different foods into their diet.  

This is a great way to spend your day inside while also developing skills that could help you connect with your child! We have compiled some tips and some recipes that would help you plan a cooking day with your kid! 
Tips: 

  • Don’t plan to cook with a time limit. This also means don’t start when you’re trying to get food on the table for dinner. Taking your time and working your way through the recipe with your child helps create a fun atmosphere and encourages mistakes! Preventing the hangry episodes with both of you will make the entire experience more enjoyable! 
  • Create an atmosphere that encourages mistakes. Teaching them problem solving skills is very important, and not making a big deal of their mistakes in the process is important. When they make a mistake, which is bound to happen, moving forward without anger, and solving the problem is incredibly helpful in teaching your child good techniques when dealing with obstacles in the future.  
  • Prepare for your child’s personal obstacles. Whether it is sensory issues, food aversions, or technical skills, it is crucial to make fun activities with those in mind. You know your kid best! 

Activities your kid can participate in: 

  • Arranging and organizing food to prep. This can be setting the table, arranging veggies on a roasting tray, or just collecting and organizing the ingredients.  
  • Tearing any leafy vegetables. Preparing a tossed salad is great because tearing lettuce is a super easy task! Also picking herbs is a simple way to prep for a pesto or garnish. 
  • Mixing and measuring. Mixing ingredients is super simple and great with baking! Measuring helps develop motor skills as well as developing math skills in real-life situations.  
  • Cutting veggies and fruits. If you think your child is ready to work with knives, this is a great way to start with the prep. We recommend starting with soft foods, like strawberries, bananas, and cooked root veggies (potatoes, yams, squash). 

Here are some recipes we recommend: 

Resources: 

  • https://www.jennyfriedmannutrition.com/blog/cooking-with-an-autistic-child 
  • https://autismawarenesscentre.com/whats-cooking-life-skills/ 
  • https://www.autismspeaks.org/expert-opinion/autism-and-mealtime-therapists-top-ten-tips-success 

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