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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Our Kids Can Help IN The Kitchen

My children have always been invited in and expected to help in the kitchen. This helps with bonding and teaches learning experiences as well. Helping out in the kitchen helps to build confidence as well. By allowing our children to help us they become knowledgeable and learn self esteem along the way. The opportunities that we allow our children to help will grow over time allowing them to continue to learn and build confidence. 

Both boys and girls can learn a lot in the kitchen. Learning while they are young will guide them toward better healthy habits. The ability to cook and care for their selves and their future families when they leave home is very important as well. As parents it is our job to help our children learn the abilities that will help them through out their lives.

Today's world there is so much talk about eating unhealthy. Having our children in the kitchen helping to make their own food from scratch will help them grow to a healthier diet. Eating different foods will help them to grow a superior taste and have them looking for new foods rather than being a picky eater. Working together to fix meals will help them to learn the nutrition of homemade meals as well as how to shop thrifty.

Giving our children opportunity to prepare food will help lessen the workload. While supervision is always a must even the young ones can help out in the kitchen. Children can grow to learn how to be part of the team in the kitchen as well as eventually filling independent roles as well.

I started my children out in the kitchen as soon as they were old enough to follow direction. Having them do just one little chore will make them happy and your life easier. Always thank them for coming into the kitchen and helping out. The keys are to give good direction and supervise carefully Our children will never forget the times that we worked side by side with them in the kitchen. The jobs we give the kids should be real, actual jobs that help out directly toward the meal, prep or cleanup. 

I was a mom of 6 children and I had the kids in a routine of what to do. They helped each meal only in different jobs and positions. Each time that you are ready to work in the kitchen grab your little helper(s) up and bring them along with you. Even homework nights should not excuse them from doing a small task in the kitchen.

Mistakes will happen they did with me, they most likely did with you and they will happen with our children as well. Messing up cooking a dish or making another error is something that can and will happen. Remember to not get mad or make a big deal out of something that goes wrong. If you have to start a dish over or enjoy an overcooked part of the meal do not do it negative emotions instead tell them mistakes happen and that next time will be better.

I can recall when mom would allow us to do our own thing in the kitchen as well. Baking up cookies or brownies was our favorite thing to do. She let us complete them from beginning to end and always ate a few with us as well. Let your children to get in the kitchen have some fun make some yummy treats and share them with the family.

Our children should be able to plan menus by giving their input. When our children are older they can become the chef and plan and cook the entire meals you can act as the assistant. Make it exciting to help in the kitchen so that our kids are willing to get in their and help. Along the way there will be messes but there will also be memories built and in time there will be less messes and you will be able to enjoy a job well done.

Here is a list of jobs for you to start with:

Kitchen jobs for kids: (with proper instruction and supervision)

ages 4-6 
measuring and adding ingredients (teach them how to do it properly first and stay near them)
getting spices and other ingredients out of the cupboard and fridge (good reading practice)
setting the table
spooning batter (or sour cream or salsa or whatever) into a pan or bowl
rolling cookie balls
spreading frosting, butter, or jam over cakes, toast, etc.
making their own sandwiches (put out pre-cut ingredients and let them put it together themselves)
opening boxes

ages 6-9 (all of the above, plus the following)
opening cans
draining and rinsing canned goods
independently making sauces, marinades, and dressings
grating cheese
cracking eggs
*peeling vegetables
*slicing (avocados and bananas are good things to practice on, since they can use a butter knife)
*heating things on a griddle--tortillas, pancakes, etc
*frying eggs
reading the recipe (for someone who is standing at the stove and can't get to the recipe)

ages 10-11 (all of the above and the following)
*coarse chopping
*cooking noodles, rice, etc.
pressing garlic
independent baking (cookies, cakes, pancakes, biscuits, cornbread, etc)
tweaking recipes to make them their own
making entire meals once a month or so
menu planning

ages 12-up (all of the above and the following)
cooking meals independently (I have them take charge of a meal weekly in the summertime)
dicing onions and other vegetables that need to be chopped finely
baking bread
basically anything an adult can do

*close adult supervision is highly encouraged during any activity which requires the use of heat or sharp utensils.

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