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3 Ways to Bring Children into the Kitchen

by Joe Lawrence | November 17th, 2015 | Preschool, Seasonal
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child with milk (400x400)Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Christmas is not too far behind. We place so much thought into the gifts we purchase; we lose track of the most important aspect of the holidays…family. One great way to spend time with family is to cook together.

When it comes to fun things to do with my children, my first thoughts do not turn to including my preschooler in the kitchen. In fact, most evenings I am trying to keep her out of the kitchen so I can get dinner on the table before midnight. I often lose track of how much she enjoys stirring and mixing and just being there with daddy. Also, I conveniently forget that some of my greatest memories are doing the same things with my grandparents in their kitchen.

This is the time of year that we go all out on food and pretend calories do not exist. Sadly, we also lose complete control of our patience and that is greatly needed if we are going to include a child in the kitchen this holiday season. A touch of patience and a dash of creativity are all it takes to make our children feel special and included. My daughter will usually even eat things she normally would not just because she helped to make it. As a compromise, I include my children in the prep and presentation efforts. I tend to leave them out of the steps that bring them close to the oven for safety reasons.

The first way I bring them into the fold is to help gather all of the supplies. This is actually a big help as I hand them the ingredients and they ferry them to the work area. It saves me multiple trips.

Next, I have them crack the eggs, measure the milk or whatever other ingredients they can handle. My daughter was not very good at these things at first, but many mornings of helping make pancakes really honed her skills. Once the ingredients are in place, let them mix it all up. It is like magic to them and it frees a few moments for me to start on another area of the meal.

Lastly, I bring them into the presentation efforts. I tell them what needs to be on the table and let them set each place. Sometimes I give my daughter cart blanche on how to set up each seat and that keeps her busy for awhile and allows her to use her big, creative brain.

Although many of us are pressed for time, our children love to help in the kitchen. When we are on a tight work and school schedule it is harder to give in to, but the holidays often offer some flexibility in the schedule that allow for some family time in the kitchen.

(Photo courtesy of Lucid Waters)

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