Monday, December 6, 2010

Kitchen Help from Kiddos

Long before my now five year old son, Gramm, turned two, I began letting him help me in the kitchen. This was such a fun time for us! I would let him play in the tupperware, or I would put dry beans or rice in a 9x13 pan and let him "cook". It was a great bonding experience and it kept him entertained while I cooked dinner.

My twin girls, Vivian and Brooklyn, are nearing three and I've just started letting them help me in the kitchen. They really aren't much help at all, but I don't think they should have to miss out on time in the kitchen occasionally just because there are two of them at once. And, you know if the twins are cooking, Gramm has to help, too. Having six little hands in the kitchen at one time while I'm trying to cook can get a little crazy. Along the way, I've learned a few things that have helped make our time in the kitchen enjoyable.

First off, get over my bad self and let the kids make a mess. Below is Gramm at 16 months in the kitchen.

Secondly, don't freak out about knives. Seriously, Gramm started using a rounded-tip steak knife to chop vegetables when he was 4. He cut himself one time and it was just a little scratch. I am convinced this helped with his fine motor skills. He still cuts a mad carrot. And, he grates cheddar like it's his job.

Brooklyn wielding a butter knife and showing the mushroom who's boss.

Vivian concentrating hard:

Thirdly, pretend to be Julia Child and explain to your children every single thing you are doing. Gramm has always been very articulate. I've done my pretend cooking shows with him on a very regular basis from birth till now. And, it won't be long till one of my little sweeties tells me "don't crowd the mushrooms!"

Fourthly, it's okay that I don't let my kids help me in the kitchen every time I cook. Helping me is a privilege, it's not a given. It does take more energy from me and I need to be sure I'm in a place where I can tolerate messes being made and children in my kitchen while keeping a smile on my face. I have a strict 'no cussing in the kitchen' policy at my house. If we're in the kitchen, and you're gonna make me cuss, then you gotta get out. :) But, of course, this little man never makes me cuss....this picture was taken in July of this year.

Lastly, enjoy the process. Let your kids be kids, even in the kitchen.

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