As each year goes by, my kids are ready to take on more responsibility in keeping our household running and clean.
I am a firm believer in family contributions!
I want my children to grow up taking their own, age-appropriate initiative in our home. Is this a high hope? Possibly, but by creating routines, providing them with opportunities to feel pride over their contributions and setting expectations when they are younger, I am setting a plan in place for success. At east, that is my hope!
Right now, one of my daughter’s biggest interests, in the house, is to learn how to cook. Over the past few years, I have involved her more and more when I bake muffins, pancakes, grilled cheese and other easier items. AND, this past weekend, my husband involved her in cooking his now famous Beef Taquitos.
This is a photo of my daughter and husband cooking together at my Mother-In-Law’s house. My daughter felt such pride over the meal that she and my husband cooked together. It was truly heart-warming to see her announce to my amazing Mother-In-Law that she had prepared dinner for that night AND that she had made enough for leftovers to be placed in the freezer for another day. Not only was she given an opportunity to learn how to cook, but she also had a wonderful experience spending some one-on-one quality time with her Dad, something that she has been seeking lately.
The more involved she gets, the more risks my daughter is comfortable making. This includes chopping with sharp knives and cooking on the hot stovetop. I am still not ready to allow her to open the oven, unless I am able to find her full-body heat protection!
Ideas for getting the kids involved in the kitchen:
- Take baby steps – start them off when they are really little by sitting them in their high chair near you so that they can watch you. Talk to them about what you are doing. You can be the star of your very own cooking show. Even if they are too young to understand, that interaction and language exposure is very important in your little one’s development.
- Involve them early – give them spoons, measuring cups and possibly even a few ingredients to play with while you are cooking or baking. This allows your little one the opportunity to feel involved and will keep them out of trouble while you are busy in the kitchen.
- Start with pre-measured ingredients – children often want to jump right in and take over. If you plan ahead and take a few extra minutes before your child helps you, you can pre-measure and pre-cut ingredients for them to pour or add. This allows them to feel involved and to take ownership of adding specific ingredients, but you don’t have to worry about them over-adding certain ingredients that look particularly delicious to them and possibly “ruin” the outcome.
- Give your child their OWN item to make – if you are making something like pie, give your child their own small ball of dough to knead and roll out. You can even help them make a mini-pie! You can give them their own cookies to decorate or their own salad ingredients to make a creation of their own.
It is always a good idea to be prepared for mishaps when you start to involve your children in the kitchen. I highly recommend that you have a fully stocked first aid kit. This includes bandages as well as more specialized items like Orange Naturals burn cream. Orange Naturals Burn Relief homeopathic cream aims to soothe and relieve relieve the pain of minor burns, scalds or sunburns.
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getting kids involved at a young age is a good life skill to have
cant wait till my oldest is just a little bit older than she can always help mom in the kitchen 🙂
How old is she now?
she will be 3 in October but I am having difficulty getting her to even listen to me to put her toys away yet alone help me in the kitchen lol
Have you ever tried singing a “clean up song” for her while you clean up? Seriously, come and join our Parent Support Group – you will get even more ideas!
I am bad for not letting my kids help enough. It is something I have to work harder on cause I fell it is good for them 🙂
It is so much easier to do it yourself, but also so important to give them the opportunity to learn the life skill!
I’m afraid that mine only wanted to see food on the table but none of them were interested in how it got there. Now that they are all adults, they all cook very well and they didn’t learn it from me either. The boys really surprised me. 🙂
Always nice to get a pleasant surprise 🙂
I was thinking of assigning my 14 year old the role of “make dinner one night a week”… building on life skills!
That is fun!
My little one loves helping to stir anything, she’s only three so little steps……however my 17 yr old had been volunteering a little more nowadays. Gotta love it when he offers to make his little sister lunch!
That is amazing that he offers to make his sister lunch!
My son’s favorite food is pancakes, so I always let him help me make them.
Yesterday I came home from work and my daughter announced she had done TWO loads of dishes! (She was so proud of herself) It’s important for kids to be a part of the WHOLE process.. clean up too!
one way to get them invovled is letting them have a say on what they can help cook
Only one of my daughters liked helping out in the kitchen, but I would let her help do the measuring and mixing and spooning into dishes or onto trays
Thanks for this and the suggestion of the Orange Natural product. I have been trying to switch slowly to natural products around the house and this is a great add. =)
My girls are really starting to show interest in cooking so I have been getting them to help me out in the kitchen.
i super love taquitos
another benefit if they get involved is they may not become picky eaters. just picky foodies.
I have great memories helping out in the kitchen as a little girl!
We parent the same in so many ways Amanda. Our girls are the perfect age to be exploring in the kitchen. I have let DD9 make grilled cheese and she’s been great on the stove. I am in the kitchen too but know she can prepare something simple if I need is a great feeling for us both.
I waited till the children asked to do something in the kitchen vs forcing them to be involved and it’s working!! Both ask to help out and now want to come grocery shopping as well to see what goes into buying the food.
When my daughter showed interest in baking I slowly introduced her to the kitchen. I let her measure and mix.
It is so important for kids to learn how to cook at a young age. I love seeing their eagerness and interest in the kitchen!
I think it is really important to start early. I did not start early enough with mine. However, we have some good cooks who ask me for recipes and grandchildren who do the same. Your pre-measuring tips are especially good as this may save some grief on their part.