Toddlers in the Kitchen
The first time my toddler tried to help me make dinner was a disaster! It had been a doozy of a day. The kitchen was a mess, we we already late getting dinner started, and I was trying to cook while simultaneously changing laundry, packing bags, answering questions my hubby was asking and nursing a baby. To say my stress level was high would be an understatement!
I was making mini zucchini lasagna. I had already sliced up all the zucchini and was starting to brush my pan with oil when C, my 3 year old, wandered into the kitchen. She pushed her step stool up to the counter and grabbed my basting brush.
“I help, Mom!” She said excitedly.
It took everything I had not to tell her to go find her dad. After a deep breath, I showed her how to dip the brush in oil and grease the pan. Next, I let her help layer the zucchini, pepperoni, and pizza sauce.
Yes, we ended up eating dinner much later than I wanted because everything took triple the time it normally took. However, I will never forget the look of excitement and accomplishment in her face.
After that night, I started including her in our daily food prep. Sometimes it was little things like having her help wash berries. Other times, it was more complex, for instance, helping me make chili. (I pre measured everything and then let her dump ingredients and help stir).
Are you reading this thinking I have lost my mind? Here are a few reasons why your toddler should help you in the kitchen:
I hate crafting! I don’t like the mess. So we don’t fit many interactive activities in at home. Cooking together fills that void. As we cook we talk about shapes, colors, smells, and textures. C has even learned how measure using cups and teaspoons.
Try New Foods
C is a picky eater, but you can bet she is the first to sample our creations. She doesn’t always like what we have cooked up, however, the amount of fruits and veggies that she is willing to eat has dramatically increased!! Just recently, she added cauliflower pizza crust to the list of foods she is willing to eat.
I am a Go-Go-Go type of person. I hate slowing down. Cooking with my toddler mean I am forced to take a deep breath and really be present in the moment.
Learn a Life Skill
Everyone needs to eat. Helping in the kitchen teaches skills that will help kids be self sufficient after they are grown and out on their own.
Make Memories Together
C might be too young to remember our culinary adventures, but I will cherish these memories forever!!!
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