If you want to get everyone into the kitchen, how do you best prepare for stress-free baking with children? Read our top tips to help

Children love helping to cook and if it's one of your pre-child hobbies then it's a fun activity for you to do together. Plus, who doesn't love eating the end result?

But as even the most patient people know, any kind of cooking with children is not without pressure points. And the combination of all of you in the kitchen can easily reach boiling point, quickly.

So here are ten tips for stress-free baking with children; we'd love to hear yours!

Prepare for mess! Baking with children is unlikely to be anything other than a mess-fest. Flour will go everywhere and you'll be treading on sugar granules for a while after. But that's all part of the fun.

Go for the lighter menu option: Although GBBO may have inspired you to create a technical masterpiece complete with many layers, ganache and an intricate sugar paste decoration, it's highly unlikely you'll be able to replicate this with children. So...

Pick an easy recipe: Simple biscuits or fairy cakes you can have fun decorating are a good start.

Get everything ready first: To save a lot of time, stress and mess, measure everything out and have it all to hand before you start. This is a great tip for the more impatient children who just want to dive right in.

Let them have their own bowl: A smaller mixing bowl and spoon might be easier for little hands to manage and it will also make them feel much more independent.

Get the spare spoons ready:  Make sure you have a couple of spare spoons handy, as the temptation for little people - even adults! - to lick the spoon is all too great.

Focus on the fun parts: Which will be, let's face it, the decoration. Make sure you have icing and lots and lots of hundreds and thousands to hand (another good tip is to decant them out into smaller pots first).

Don't be afraid to make short cuts: Ready-made packet mixes, the type where you just have to add milk or eggs,have come a long way and also offer a quicker, easier option for when you're baking with children.

Buy ready-made: If their favourite part is decorating and they don't deal so well with waiting for baking or cooling, then get in some ready-made cupcakes to decorate; even icing rich tea-style biscuits works well.

And finally, don't believe everything you see on Pinterest: Let's face it, Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, recipes and ideas (we love Pinterest! Make sure you follow TalkMum on Pinterest). But, remember that a lot of the images are taken by professionals and it's unlikely your creations will look exactly the same, especially when you've had some 'help.' But it's not just you - take comfort in these Pinterest food fails.

Have fun! Make sure you also read our weaning tips and what to eat when you're pregnant.

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benjy davila

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