As parents, we have many things on our to-do list. Besides spending time with your kids, feeding them, cleaning, just keeping up on life in general (and so many other things), it can feel impossible to add one more thing to your list.
Right now, we are in a stage of life where our oldest daughter doesn’t like much of what we put on the table. She is either too busy, too tired, or just simply doesn’t want to eat the food that we made for her, and asks for something else. It can be so frustrating! After all, we spend a lot of time making meals, right? We started making small changes to involve our kids in the kitchen. With some patience and involving kids right where you make the meals, we’ve seen a big difference!
Tips for Kids in the Kitchen
Start From Day 1
We have always involved our kids in the kitchen. From Day 1 when our girls were infants, they were around when we ate or prepared food. On a weekly basis, we ask them to help us with meals. Even giving a baby or toddler spatulas and plastic containers to play with entertains them and lets them be with you in the kitchen.
Make it Simple
Start with a simple task they can help with. Some of my favorite ways to ask for help are whisking batter, pouring with measuring cups, or placing ingredients into muffin tins. Using a kitchen step stool or tower is extremely helpful in placing your kids at the height of your table or countertop. As your kids get older, ask them to chop up fruits and vegetables (or other items as able) as you continue to prep. Using safe kitchen knives can support their learning and allow them to practice with your supervision.
Trust the Process
We all know typically things don’t change after trying something once. If it feels like too much to integrate after you have had a full day of work and are scrambling to get dinner on the table, save it for weekends as you start. Give your kids the responsibility of pouring the milk into the bowl, measuring out the flour, or even cracking the eggs (gasp!). It might be messy; but the more you teach them, the easier it gets.
Remember my daughter who doesn’t want to eat much of anything these days? When we involve her and offer her more responsibility, her tune changes. We have started letting her portion food onto her plate so she can decide how much she wants to eat, rather than us placing it on her plate for her.
She also loves washing her dishes after meals. Is the water on for more than what I would typically like? Maybe. The positive effect of this situation is way better than the water bill, because we see a physical change in what foods she chooses to eat. We are able to be her parents and teachers at the same time. And that is one of my biggest wishes as we continue to create memories as a family.