As the UK nears the end of the third National lockdown most parents will have have been home-schooling their children for 6 weeks already this term.
And while it can be interesting to learn about primary school topics or the secondary school curriculum, it can also be an exhausting and stressful time trying to balance work, parenting, and teaching all in one role.
Now as we reach the half-term mark in February, many of the traditional ways of occupying kids, like swimming, days out, or visiting family, will all sadly be impossible until the current restrictions end.
One way of keeping kids occupied this lockdown is to introduce them to cooking.
We spoke to Manuka Doctor team-member Matt who has three children aged 13, 11 and 2 about how he is using cooking to help entertain his kids.
"Our older two kids are putting a huge effort into home-school as it requires more attention when it’s just you and a screen.
"So often when they’ve finished, the first thing they want to do is pick up yet another device to play games.
"That’s why we’ve started making cooking part of the family routine. It gives a bit of family structure to the end of the day. And clearly it helps that they’re always hungry! Getting them to do small jobs and tasks as part of the bigger goal is rewarding for everyone.
Matt recommends giving your children roles, even the younger ones. As kids enjoy imaginary play, and role play scenarios where they are able to do adult chores,
"I’ve been calling my 11 year old daughter the world’s best potato peeler and now she feels like that’s her very important job” he said. “While my 13 year old is better with the knifes."
But the best part of any cooking experience is getting stuck in – which is where honey can help.
"My own recipe book is somewhat limited” admitted Matt. “So we’ve been getting a subscription box of meals to make from Hello Fresh and Gusto. It’s really opened my eyes to what you can make and be a bit more creative with the cooking."
Matt told us that Manuka honey and even Apple Cider Vinegar have featured in his recipes since cooking more in the lockdown.
"My daughter has a sweet tooth so likes to bake. Often we will stir in some Manuka honey to a flapjack mixture, or use it on the icing itself. My kids used to prefer runny honey but now they are fans of Manuka and I need to keep an eye on my jar as they spoon it out quickly!"
"I’ve also started using a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar, alongside a more traditional stock. It adds a really nice flavour to sauces and risottos. I think it’s useful to get kids to try and variety of flavours so adding in different things is all part of that."
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