Little kitchen helpers

Clever ways to get the kids to help out in the kitchen

Let’s face it, we could all use a little extra help in the kitchen.

Life for busy parents can feel like a constant battle to keep the kids fed while also keeping the family kitchen clean, so wouldn’t it be brilliant if you had a few enthusiastic helpers to do their bit?

Follow these simple steps to allow your messy little monsters to unlock their full potential in the kitchen.

Start early

Safety comes first in the kitchen, but there are still ways to get young children interested in cooking. Let them watch you whip up dinner from the safety of their high chair or give them safe items like plastic bowls to play with, since toddlers love discovering things for themselves.

Celebration not delegation

It only takes a little extra effort to turn essential everyday tasks into an enjoyable activity for all the family. Turning on music so kids can sweep the floor to the beat, making up songs to sing together as you stir the batter, and replacing dull tea towels with colourful patterned ones can all help to make common kitchen tasks more fun.

Get creative

Encouraging creativity is a great way to keep your children’s minds active and aid learning, so why not make mealtimes more creative too? Artistic cooking doesn’t have to be limited to occasional treats like decorating cakes either, you can also make healthy everyday dinners more fun by letting the kids make faces with fruits or set a scene with veggies.

Make them proud

Giving little ones responsibility over a certain part of a recipe, like mashing potatoes, is a great way to help them feel super proud of what they’ve achieved and get more enjoyment out of the process. Set the pace slowly to avoid making them feel disheartened if they can’t complete a task, and recognise their efforts once they’ve finished by letting everyone around the table know that you’re serving up ‘Jimmy’s potatoes’.

The power of choice

It’s also a great idea to give children choices so tasks don’t feel like an obligation, like letting them help to plan dinner menus, pack their own lunchboxes or choose between two types of pasta at the supermarket.

Patience is a virtue

Teaching children to love cooking and tidying up after themselves is not a quick process. In the short run you’ll need a healthy dose of patience to accept that things may get a little messy, or that dishes might not turn out as perfectly as you would have made them. In the long run though, it’s worth it for those precious family moments when your kids surprise you with breakfast in bed, or just make you proud when you see what capable, responsible young adults they’re turning into.

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