21 Sep Kids in the Kitchen
Although it is tempting to have the kitchen totally under your control and peaceful, kids love to come in and help out. Initially, you may feel it as a pain in the neck, but with patience, perseverance and practice, your kids will become as good a cook as you are and even better. Kids love to be a part of your world. They want to do what you do. Isn’t that why we buy toy kitchens and kitchen food for kids? How much better it is when we let them do the real thing. Although you might have to bite your tongue a lot, in the beginning, this can be a wonderful bonding experience. Besides teaching the ABC’s of cooking, you will have many unrepeatable intimate moments to share stories, develop attitudes and strengthen work habits. How much they can learn about teamwork, cooperation, the spirit of service, care for details etc., nevermind reading, math and comprehension skills. Do not underestimate the rewards of having kids in the kitchen. You will be amazed in the years to come how much it paid off!!!
Get your kids involved as soon as they are willing. In my house, that starts as soon as they can push a chair to the counter and climb up (around 2). What a hair raising experience it was when the twins came along!!! It takes a lot of patience and creativity to keep kids happy and helping. Don’t worry. Over time, you will both get better at it. Kids want to be busy and you must channel their energy and enthusiasm. Having ample time and simple recipes that are quick and easy will help loads. Kids love to do, more than watch. Start them by filling, stirring, pouring and mixing. Eventually introduce them to peeling, measuring, and cutting. If you find music keeps you calm, put on a favorite tape or a children’s CD. Sing with your kids while you work. As they get older help them to read the recipe and do more and more on their own. If you have more than one child, rotate days for cooking in the kitchen, or delegate small tasks to each, ie. One washes vegetables, another stirs the soup.
It is important to always be welcoming to kids who want to lend a hand. I know it is hard to get used to, but the sooner you do, the sooner you will reap many benefits. How many memories we cherish of baking cookies with mom and baking our first cake! Take advantage of these numerous moments to share the day’s events, teach kids how to handle mistakes cheerfully, grow in responsibility and contribute to family life, now and in their future families. Don’t settle for anything less.