I use the term “help” quite liberally with my children. As my 2-year-old dumps a measuring cup full of water all over the counter, I encourage him, “Thank you for helping with the dishes!” Secondarily, I attempt to reign in his exuberance, “Please keep the water in the sink.”
I want to instill in my boys a sense of shared responsibility and confidence in their abilities. I will continue to ask for their help. But in my mind, I mentally translate the word “help” to “participate” to preserve my sanity. Cooking with kids, especially young ones, can take longer, is messier, and can try your patience. And still, I do it all the time.
There are so many benefits to having children participate in the kitchen. A recent study links kids’ involvement in the kitchen with healthier food choices. Cooking with kids also provides an opportunity for shared experience and even practice with fine motor skills. Continue reading