How to get the most from an online session

(We’re talking preserving our sanity, the important bit! If you get some cooking done too, then that’s a bonus!)

Kids Kitchen’s activities have shifted online – we are now leading kids cookalongs, and here’s what we’ve learned.

We know the advice has always been that if you need a bit of support you should arrange to get out and meet a friend, but we’ve got to work with what we’ve got during lockdown. And what we’ve got is virtual meetups and online gatherings.

We also appreciate that they can sometimes be a bit hard to navigate, especially if you’re fairly new to the technology and are a bit nervous about how to use it all. And it might not feel like a “real” social interaction – but there are some things you can do to make it feel a bit more like it’s meeting our need for some adult company.

Firstly, remember there is absolutely nothing to be nervous about. Most people are a bit anxious at first, but the benefit of our cookalong meet-ups as opposed to a face to face, is that you can just mute yourself if it all gets a bit overwhelming, or if one of your kids says something a bit embarrassing.

We think it’s useful to start by finding out if there’s a ‘chat’ function. Most online platforms have the ability to type a question to the host without you having to make yourself heard over everyone else. We use Zoom for our online sessions which has a really simple chat box, and we repeat any measurements or instructions in there for anyone who missed it being said. Once you’ve found the chat function you can ask for technical help, for instructions to be repeated or clarified, or just to say hi and introduce yourself. We are a friendly bunch!

Don’t be afraid to make suggestions that will help you – the chances are if you’re struggling with something, other people probably are too. And make the most of the chat function for actual chatting too – tell people about what’s gone well, any embarrassing moments, when your kids are driving you potty. We guarantee that if you start a conversation someone will probably join in!

Secondly, it’s always worth treating it like a “real life” social function. Get the kettle on as part of your prep, crack open the biscuits, and allow yourself time to relax while the kids do the hard work. Most online sessions that are kid-friendly aren’t especially formal affairs, there’s no time pressure, and the main aim is to enjoy yourself. Take this opportunity while you can!

Thirdly, remember that nobody is going to be checking up on you. If you need to pop off screen to feed the baby or change a nappy or answer the phone, do it. We all completely understand and have all been there ourselves. Our online sessions are no different to being at a real life Kids Kitchen session, and that means no pressure – on anyone!

This new way of living looks like it’s going to be here for a little while, and although it may not be our first choice of ways to socialise, it is still really important to get human connection and make sure our adult needs are met, not just those of the kids. So why not give it a go and join us for our next online session?