Letting Children Help in the Kitchen
Meal prep is already hard enough when trying to keep children occupied. However, no matter what toy they are playing with, chances are they will always want to help you in the kitchen. While this may add more work in the kitchen in some instances, allowing children to help in the kitchen can also help you out in the long run.
Children who help with meal prep are more likely to eat the meal, even if it does have broccoli in it. Children will also learn that they have a job to help mom. This will come in handy when you actually need their help when they are a little bit older. Also, involving children in the meal prep also helps them with their developmental skills and allows you to bond with them even over the simplest of tasks.
So how do you let your children help without adding more stress to the day? First off, you will need some patience. Once you and your child have a mealtime prep routine down, things will be easier. Also, delegate jobs according to the age of the child. Children under three can be official taste testers. They can also help with spinning the salad, if you have a salad spinner. There are also other little things they can do in the kitchen that will keep them busy and out of your way.
For children who are 4-7, they are able to help a lot more. They can chop soft vegetables with a butter knife. Teach them how to practice knife safety with a butter knife, so that they will be better prepared when they use a real knife in later years. Soft vegetables and fruits that are easy to cut with a butter knife are avocados, tomatoes, and even cucumbers.
The older children can also help stir ingredients, measure out ingredients, and even peel vegetables. Don’t forget to allow them to set the table.
Children older than seven can also be a huge help in the kitchen, since they are able to do almost everything you can, with a little supervision. Allow them to stir and mix ingredients, place items in the oven, and even cook a meal almost by themselves.
While it may seem like a pain to include your children into the meal prep, the benefits are worth it in the long run. Yes, your salad may have off shaped vegetables in it or perhaps you have crunchy rice one night, but the skills your children are learning are invaluable. Teaching them proper meal preparation helps them to be more independent in the long run. Also, as a family, every one should play a part in the chores, even young children. Meal prep is a fun way to introduce children to chores.