Do yourself and your child a favor – invite them into the kitchen with you! Yes, more than likely there will be a bigger mess to clean up but listen to me….don’t worry about the mess. In the long run, the time spent with your child and the skills you are teaching them are worth the mess.
August is Kids Eat Right Month and numerous dietitians on social media are out there trying to help you get #kidsinthekitchen. Did you know that a child involved in the food preparation is more likely to try said food? There are so many opportunities to explore food with your child even before you get to the kitchen.
- Take them to the grocery store with you and let them pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try
- Head out to the farmer’s market
- Visit a pick-your-own farm
- Grow your own garden!
Once you’re home there are plenty of other ways to include your child in the kitchen. One of my favorite moments for practical life skills is letting my toddler help put away the groceries. (If you are familiar with the Montessori concept of education then you will know how valuable these practical life lessons are. But I digress.)
Back in the kitchen, open up a cookbook and let them choose a recipe. Children as young as 2 can help wash and tear lettuce. I recently introduced my toddler (he’ll be 3 in October) to cutting his bananas with a butter knife. He’s always eager to help me in the kitchen so he jumped at this new task.
Tonight we made lasagna and he helped prepare it by spreading the sauce, cheese, and layering the lasagna in the pan. I probably could have made it myself twice as fast but his sense of pride when he finished was my reward.
Tasks can increase in difficulty as appropriate by age. This infographic from Cook Smarts has a great summation of different kitchen tasks categorized by age.
So give it a try. Get your #kidsinthekitchen. And if you share it, make sure to include the hashtag so we can follow along!