Lately I have been trying to get David into the kitchen to help me. Actually, I should rephrase that—David regularly asks me if he can “bring a chair in the kitchen and help make food.” I love that he’s so excited about cooking, and I’m trying to encourage it. Hey, if he’s going to be a vegan it would probably be a good idea to have to learn to cook for himself right? I thought I would put together a few tips that have helped David and I work well in the kitchen together. (Note: I wrote a similar post about 6 months ago, but thought I would provide some more concrete tips for MoFo).
1) Focus on what they can do, and not so much on what they can’t. I like to give David jobs that he will succeed at—it makes him feel good, and it doesn’t jeopardize what we’re making! I do all of the measuring at this point (remember, he’s 2), and he does all of the dumping. I let him stir, but often tell him that I need to take a turn first, or I need to finish.
2) Model what you want your child to do. I think I only showed David once how to tap off a measuring spoon on the side of the bowl to make sure the ingredients all went into the bowl and now he does it every single time. Cutest thing ever! If you show them, instead of just tell them, how to do something they will be able to better follow along.
3) Ask for their opinions. This morning when we made pancakes David suggested we put oatmeal into the batter. So we did. I wouldn’t say yes to any idea, but if it’s within the realm of possibility, it’s fun to let them have a little bit of control over what they are making.
4) Set up a good work station. For a long time I would just bring David’s little picnic table into our kitchen and we would work there. And let me just say that if it can fit in my kitchen it would fit in anyone’s. My kitchen can’t be more than about 20 square feet—it is TINY! Now I usually let David bring in a bar stool to kneel on and that seems to work pretty well too. If your child can’t comfortably reach what they are making they won’t have a lot of fun, and may get frustrated and give up.
^^^ helping Daddy make Bunny Juice (the actual juice version)
5) Talk to you child about what you are doing. Explain why you are mixing wet with dry, or why you need to squeeze water out of your tofu. I am always amazed at what David will repeat back to me after we finish making something together.
6) Be clear about kid jobs and grown up jobs. David knows that the stove/oven/anything hot/knives are all grown up jobs. He also knows that stirring is a good job for him, as well as dumping ingredients and even making the coating for tofu. Because I give him plenty of kid friendly jobs he doesn’t complain about wanting to do grown up jobs.
^^^ David did the breading for this Coconut Crusted Tofu—recipe coming up next week!
What is your favorite thing to make with your kiddos? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Head over to my facebook page and leave a comment.
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