My 4 year old is the best egg cracker around. She loves to help me out in the kitchen. She lugs her stool in and sets it down as close to me as she can get. In her sweet pixie voice, “Mommy, what are you making?” “Mommy, can I help stir?” “Mommy, are there any eggs?” “Mommy, I can spread the sauce.” “Mommy, mommy, mommy…”
It’s hard enough to balance life and cooking and getting everything to the table in a reasonable time. And then add the tiny person that wants to help. YIKES!
Even though it would be SO much easier for me to just say no, and move on; most of the time, I do say yes. I know it won’t last forever, so I’m trying to savor these last few moments I have of her actually liking me. Besides, she loves helping. She follows directions and is eager to learn everything she can about cooking.
It can be pretty stressful to add a sweet toddler to the kitchen, ready to help with a million and one questions.
Here are a few things I do to make it an enjoyable experience for both of us:
- Give them a job you know they can do. Stuff the muffin tins with muffin liners. Stir something. Crack eggs. This will buy you some time to think of the next task!
- Teach them how to do it right. Let them see you looking back at the recipe. “Ok, the recipe says…” Talk about why you cream the sugars and butter first when you make chocolate chip cookies. Teach them to get the eggshells out of the bowl. Let them scoop the flour, teach them how important it is for the recipe that we fill up the measuring cup.
- Have fun! Laugh when they (or you!) make a mess. Hi-five when you stick the pizza in the oven!
- It’s okay to say no. Sometimes it just isn’t a good time, is it? Sometimes you’re on the very last step, and then it’s done. That’s ok. Not every moment can be a learning experience.
Does your little one like to help in the kitchen? What are your go-to tricks for enjoying the time in the kitchen with them?
Share your photos and tips with us using the hashtag #cmbcookingwithmom!