Supper time has arrived, the children are needy and you are worn out…instead of putting the children in front of a screen (be it TV, Wii or a handheld device) take them in the kitchen with you. Then what?! You need to teach them what to do to help you. First thing they need to know is where things are and where they belong. We recommend you keep the more dangerous items (ingredients as well as utensils) higher in the kitchen so the children are less likely to get into those items. After this first crucial step-where things are or where they belongis taught you will be able to work a recipe while your child gets the ingredients and tools out for you. If you ask your child to get the ingredients and tools you name out for you, then they will learn the proper names as well as see how a tool is utilized. The stirrer thing is not the name for a whisk- so be sure to use the proper name.
Have your child stand near you and watch what you do as you make a recipe. As he or she watches, answer the questions they are sure to ask! Don’t be upset by the inquiries, those are how a child learns – and ever so importantly, it is how you learn what your child understands and what they need to know.
Very young children can bring a can of tomatoes or beans to you from the pantry by simply looking at the picture on the can. Having a small step stool nearby in the kitchen allows your little one to access things they would normally be unable to reach. This will help their gross motor skills and balance. If your child is a climber then a stool with a couple of steps may be too much of an invitation for your child to get into trouble in the kitchen when you are not around. Feel free to put up the stool when you are not in the kitchen with him or her.
Any recipe you make can be a recipe with your child when you have him or her get ingredients out for you, put dirty utensils in the sink, wipe the counter and put up ingredients. Not only will your child be spending time with you he or she will be saving you time! Be sure to thank him or her and perhaps even use the “saved” time by playing a quick game with him or her.
Cooking with kids will help you as well as your kids.