If someone were to ask me what one of the biggest “teachable moments” of a given day is, it’s in the kitchen. If someone were to ask me what one of the biggest time-wrestling parts of a given day is, it’s in the kitchen.
Do you find that sometimes when you are trying to get a meal made, that is when the demands on you are the most? I’m sure you’ve been there! But I have often found, the most beautiful time with a child, can often be found in the kitchen.
One thing I am realizing more and more, is the fact that one day, Mazy is going to have to learn how to do all the things I was taught. Not that she has to be a replica of me, but what I mean is that everything I know, I was taught. Someone took the time to teach me. More often than not it was my parents, but that all the more, reminds me that I have this unique and special gift to teach Mazy about life. What an honor, really.
I know she is only 3, but I often find her wanting to pull a chair up next to me, anytime I am making something. She repeatedly asks, “Mom, whatchu makin’? Can I help?” Let’s be honest. It’d be MUCH easier if we just did it all ourselves. Less mess, done quicker, you name it. But I’m realizing that is not the way I want to constantly respond to Mazy.
I remember my sisters and I “calling” who was going to strain the noodles for the mac ‘n cheese. Who was going to stir in the butter, milk, and cheese. Our poor mother! It was a Saturday noon tradition to have mac ‘n cheese and every week she’d have to deal with us “calling” our roles. That is the exact patience I want to have when Mazy asks to help.
I recognize that we only have one child, so there is no one to argue with her, no 3 kids pulling at my legs, etc. So take this for what it’s worth, in your life situation.
Here are some ways that I have Mazy help me in the kitchen. Like I said, each family is different, but this is just a handful of meals and ways that I have Mazy join in on the fun too!
- Eggs – hold her hand while she cracks them
- Toast – put her own peanut butter and jam on (I always have to work on the even spread)
- Pancakes/Waffles – stir the batter
- Mac ‘n Cheese – pour the noodles in; stir in butter, milk, and cheese
- Grilled cheese – if using wrapper cheese, have them unwrap it
- Quesadillas – spread cheese over tortilla
- Kabobs – “string” veggies onto skewers by putting each veggie in a pile, then they just go down the pile; teaches patterns and organization too! (See picture above)
- Any baking – pour ingredients in and mix, also testing with a toothpick (with much supervision since pan will be mighty hot)
- Cookies – try the batter 🙂
- Chips and cheese – organize chips onto a plate and sprinkle cheese over chips
Really what it comes down to is…taking the time to allow them to participate. I am NO perfect mom and I surely do not have Mazy help me with every meal! We too have to run out the door and I more often than not, I just do it myself. Don’t even for one second think that she helps me with everything meal. I too say “not right now honey…”
But how is a girl to learn how to make mac ‘n cheese if I don’t show or allow her to help? And in turn, she walks away feeling so proud and special, that she was able to do something on her own. The joy she feels and I witness by her learning to become independent, is such a humbling experience. And all it takes is a simple minute or two!
Do you allow your kids to help you in the kitchen? What do you most often allow them to help you with? Thoughts?