If you are like most parents, having kids in the kitchen is a nightmare you would rather avoid than encourage. Certainly it is understandable why you would not want your kid hanging out in a place where so many dangers lurk. The down side to this is that your child will think of the kitchen as a negative place. When you are a kid, being kept out of a place only spurs your interest and makes you want to go there anyway. Why not involve your kid and eliminate the dangers? There are plenty of safe chores kids can do to develop a healthy, curious interest in the kitchen. Take the time to remove the dangers that worry you and then welcome them in. Now you can open up a whole world of culinary wonder to your child and you will be doing him or her a grand favor in life. Here are televen easy and safe jobs you can give your child to get them started early.
11 Ways Kids Can Help in the Kitchen
1. Set the table – Young or old, setting the table is a great way to get them warmed up to cooking and meal preparation. Take the time to show them how to do it right and then watch them take pride is a job well done.
2. Taste tester supreme – If you let your kid be the primary taste tester in the home, they will take it very seriously. Ask them what it needs or how it could be better and they will begin to develop good cooking instincts. Even if they have to fake it at first, you are still developing their inner cook.
3. Button pusher – Think about how many buttons you have to push to complete a meal. You would be amazed at how nice and proper your kid will sit there if they know that they will be the one to push each button.
4. Keeper of the silverware drawer – Knives notwithstanding, your kid is fully capable of unloading the dishwasher silverware and keeping it organized within the silverware drawer. If they have a high enough reach, allow them to do this little job.
5. Salt shaker star – My little girls are each in charge of keeping the salt shaker clean and full. It took a little training and a ton of explaining as to why I would not let them do the pepper, but they got it.
6. Be the official sandwich maker for the home – Kids are natural sandwich makers and with some training, they are fully capable of taking care of the basics. Let them be the sandwich makers when that is on the menu and you will see them light right up.
7. Be the official stirrer when temps are safe – Clearly you would not want them stirring hot pasta, but a bowl of ingredients at room temperature is no problem. Let them be the “official” stirrer and they will take the job very seriously.
8. Be in charge of all rinsing – Clearly these jobs are all in the presentation. A kid wants to be in charge of things too, so give them something that they can handle.
9. Be the official surface wiper – Being the surface wiper is a great job because it forces them to be thorough. Kids need to learn these types of things and pointing out missed spots on the counter are rather easy for them to understand.
10. Table clearer – It might be the oldest job in the kitchen, but it is also one of the best for kids. Make sure you clear anything dangerous and then let them have at it. Kids love to make things clean when you make it a game. Put some fun in it.
11. Official kitchen megahorn – Speaking of fun, giving kids the right to be the loud mouth is always a winner. Anything that must be announced from the kitchen should be done by the official kitchen megahorn. Kids really enjoy telling Daddy that it is time for dinner and to get his feet off the coffee table.
Give these simple little jobs a shot and you will see kids that want to learn about cooking when the time comes. Introduce them slowly and early and be sure to keep safety first. These 11 little starter chores are only a few that I have done in my parenting life. How do you involve your children in the kitchen?