I will never forget the scene.
My husband was on baby duty when my twins were very small, all cocoon-ed in their swaddle blankets all snug in their rock ‘n plays on the kitchen floor. As my husband worked on dinner, he gave our tiny babies a lesson in cooking. He taught them about what a spatula does, showed them a whisk, how to crack an egg, and on and on. It was one of THE sweetest things I’ve ever seen, and one of the very few memories I have from those early days with our babies.
I’ve been learning recently how important it is to not merely just survive through my days as a mama (though yes, there will be days like that!!), but instead to intentionally TEACH my children important skills…even as 2 and a half year olds. For a entrepreneur like me who loves productivity and efficiency, it isn’t always an easy task. When I ask my kids to help out, it’s a guarantee that the chore will take WAY longer than if I had just done it myself! But watching their newfound independence and pride in it is incredible! And hey, the sooner they are able to do things like make a pb&j on their own, the better, right?! Especially with a new little baby coming this fall!
Here are some kitchen skills to teach toddlers! My twins are just a couple months shy of 3 years old (WHAT?! When did that happen?!) and these are the skills I am intentionally working with them to learn:
- Stirring. A simple but important skill! Stirring with self-control to NOT eat what’s in the bowl, and to not go crazy and spill it everywhere!
- Pouring. Pouring takes great hand-eye coordination, and toddlers love to pour things from one container into another!
- Spreading. This is where those pb&j’s come into play
- Loading. I’ve been surprised at how great they’ve become at loading their own dishes into the dishwasher, and it takes skill to carry their plates to the sink without spilling the uneaten food!
- Holding a measuring spoon level while I put food into it. This requires a steady hand and self control!
- Licking the beaters….ok this is not a SKILL but it’s a necessary part of helping out in the kitchen!!
- Pushing a mini cart at the grocery store. My kids are finally getting better WALKING slowly with their carts rather than running and plowing into things! It’s also a great lesson on self control to not fill up their carts with all sorts of things we don’t need!
It’s so exciting to see them learn, and to see their joy in becoming just a little more self-sufficient each day! I believe that by teaching our children to help out in the kitchen, they will be less likely to take for granted healthy meals that took a while to prepare. When they know the work that goes into it and are a part of putting it together, they’ll be much more likely to eat it without grumbling! And…well…I don’t want them to go off to college without knowing how to chop a red pepper or bake a healthy treat or make something other than canned soup! Haha!
What do your toddlers enjoy helping out with in the kitchen?