Wednesday, November 10

5 ways your child can help with dinner without driving you mad

It's not often Eloise and I get alone time these days.  With her being at school and her sisters not having afternoon naps anymore I miss those times where it would be just me an her time.  I think it's important so when opportunities arise where I can spend time with any of my girls one-on-one I grab it.  Whether it be just a walk to the local shops or hanging out the washing - giving my frills that one-on-one attention is not only good for our individual relationships, it is fun !

Eloise being 6.5 is starting to have a real interest in cooking.  She's always loved food but she asks questions about how I cooked something, what herbs go with what and 'Mum, is there xyz in this?'  it seems she's inherited my forensic eating skills..

So I'm starting to teach her how to cook.  I mean really cook.  Simple recipes that we can eat on a regular basis that bit-by-bit she can assume more responsibility in making.  Obviously I'm doing all the knife work and stove to oven stuff but I'm explaining how things are done and involving her in the preparation.

So here's some of my tips to introducing your kids to cooking in the kitchen and ways you can get them involved that actually means they are helpful rather than hindrance in the kitchen - whilst also gaining some skills!

1. Measuring.   
Kids love to measure.  Start off with dry goods - pasta is good - 5 scoops, cups etc.  Move onto measuring cups and spoons, measuring using scales.  Kids LOVE this.

2.  Sifting
My little frills in particular love to sift flour.  Even if your recipe doesn't call for sifting your flour, do it anyway!  It is a great time waster when you're busy sometimes!

3.  Understanding and picking smells
This year with Eloise I've got her more involved in herbs - she can identify most now and I can just ask her to grab me this and that whilst I'm cooking.   We sometimes play games 'guess that herb'.  She also tries to identify them in food for fun too.

I also get her to take the leaves off, and she's just learned to use a herb mill.

4. Washing up
My girls loves to wash up and we're getting better at not drenching ourselves and the kitchen floor.  It's actually great to have the dishes washed whilst you cook.   When I was growing up as one of three daughters I would be detailed to the washing up most nights.  I would ask my parents (read whinge to my parents) why we didn't have a dishwasher.  My Dad would say: 'I do - I have three dishwashers in fact...'  I can see that line making an encore in this house.

If you had a real dishwasher nothing stopping you from teaching the kids how to at least stack the top shelf is there?

5.  Stirring. 
This is their favourite.  It doesn't need to be at the stove - it can be whisking eggs, stirring batter (even if it really doesn't need it

So what little jobs do your kids do whilst you cook?

Print this post in friendly format

11 lovely comments:

Mishelle on November 10, 2010 at 11:48 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

It's so funny - I loved baking and cooking with my Nanny but my daughter doesn't seem to be the slightest bit interested in actually doing anything. She adds one thing to say she helped then leaves... My son too.


JD on November 10, 2010 at 1:15 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Mine are 2 and 1, so younger than yours, but my two-year-old loves "helping" me cook.

Like you I find that any measuring, stirring, adding things into the bowl are great fun for him. I'll often set out a little plateful of chia seeds for him to sprinkle into the dish, or give him a toddler knife and some cheese.

He loves "helping" to pod peas when we have fresh peas (though I have to open the pods first), and kneading dough is really big too.

Lucy on November 10, 2010 at 2:34 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

She is adorable. She has freckles just like my Olivia...

Nisha on November 10, 2010 at 4:48 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Nicholas loves to peel garlic! Which is brilliant because it saves me the frustration and stinky fingers! I also give him the veggie scraps to chop with a kiddy knife (like the tops/ends of zucchini, capsicum, cucumber, tomato etc) I like to think im helping develop his knife skills and it keeps him busy while im tidying or getting other stuff ready.

melissa on November 11, 2010 at 8:51 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

My boys love to 'help' me in the kitchen, but at 3 and 1 years old they do more eating and banging than anything else! They do however do a pretty good job of lining cup cake cases : )

Shell said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

p.s Charlotte just got the same nightie as Eloise - she loves it so much, I think it might be worn as a dress too!

Rina on November 13, 2010 at 6:13 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I love the flour sifting tip, LOL. Can't wait for the Bear to start cooking with me!!

Quixotic on November 13, 2010 at 11:18 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

So cute!! My Miss 3 is already a gun sifter and stirrer (she's now insisting she be allowed to stir bolognese & stir fries etc ON THE HOTPLATE...EEEEKKK!!!!)and she's my rinser when we do the washing up. She also hands me the dishes out of the dishwasher when we unpack it. The only problem is I get in trouble now if I am in a hurry and she is not "allowed" to help! What a great problem to have, hope it sticks with her into teenager-hood! lol.

Love the idea of the herb game,, will defintely steal that!

Katy on November 15, 2010 at 11:59 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

The kids are always keen to help. They help weigh and measure, knead dough, turn on the mixer, add things to the mixer...

Lachlan is now helping to read the recipes and various ingredients, and they can all fetch things from the pantry and fridge.

They love stirring, mixing and mashing too.

Must try and find some of those kiddy knives on JMC!

MultipleMum on June 11, 2011 at 2:03 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Love this. My two older boys are into helping me in the kitchen. Mostly it drives me mad, but I am learning to teach them and it is paying off a bit now! I would add to designate them 'chief recipe reader'. Nug loves being 'in charge'. Just be sure that you have read the recipe first so you don't miss any of the steps he actually skips! Hi from the Fibro x

Life In A Pink Fibro on June 11, 2011 at 5:22 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Great tips. I love it when the boys 'help' me in the kitchen. They love the sifting and stirring. Not so much the washing...

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.


Frills in the Hills Copyright © 2009-2015