Holiday baking with the kids is a tradition I love. As a rule, I resist making our favorite Christmas cookies during the year, just to make each bite all the more savored, and special.
I will have to admit it took me a few Christmases to realize that a clean kitchen and impeccably shaped cookies were not the goal. The focus was on making memories and to bask in the sound of excited, little giggles, over perfection!
It wasn’t easy but I knew I didn’t want holiday baking with my kids to have to be a stress-filled chore.
If this resonates with you, be encouraged. My babies are now 6, 10 and 14, and holiday baking is on top of our list of favorite Christmas traditions.
These three tips helped me and if you keep these in mind,
holiday baking with kids will be fun, I promise!
To help you stay on the stress-free track, keep this acronym, FUN, in mind.
1. Forget about the mess the kids are making.
You can always clean up later!
Apparently flour being thrown to the floor, flour fights, cookie dough smeared on table counters and cookie dough in one’s hair are all part of cookie making…in a child’s dictionary!
Tip: Tape wax paper on the table or counter top you plan to do all your cookie dough rolling and shape cut outs on. It makes it easier to clean up and rolling out the dough is easier.
2. Understand that kids want to be active participants.
So yes, this does mean that you may not necessarily have perfectly uniform cookies…
And your angels may need surgery on their arms, gingerbread men require some toning up on their legs or reindeer sport missing tails,
but at the end of the day, you have happy kids who’re proud of their baked masterpieces.
Tip: Stick to simple recipes. Try some of our favorites:
3. Never lose your cool.
You honestly don’t want your kids to associate cookie baking family traditions with Snappy Mom, right?
Yes, disciplining a child is important and firmly guiding them through each step is important…
but hold back from losing your cool.
I still remember this one Christmas week. My son, a then 2 1/2 year old, insisted on carrying cut out way too many cookie shapes to the cookie tray, despite my gentle nudging to allow me to do this for him.
His clumsy little fingers were yet to learn how to delicately place a thin, soft, cookie dough shape on a tray, so he had more than just a few cookie crumble accidents.
Though I was so tempted to say “Stop! Let Mama do this for you.“, I held back.
Anyone with a toddler would know a “No” would only result in tears…
possibly a melt down…
and no more cookie baking fun for the rest of the day.
So yes, though oh so very hard, I chose to hold my peace!
Cookies were rolled out, cut, baked and devoured with immense satisfaction.
And yes, memories,
sweet memories, were made.
I’m encouraging you to make these memories with your kids.
We know how fragile life is, and before you know it your little ones won’t be little any more. (This is the truth!)
Take lots of pictures, videos and preserve those memories for a lifetime.