Cooking With Kids

The kids love to cook. They are always asking to help and even if they can cook on their own.
“Mom, can I make French Toast?”
C-Dog asks this at least once a week. Unfortunately gluten free bread is expensive so I usually tell him no. We have it about once every 2 months.

The kids are mostly self-sufficient in the kitchen. We teach and supervise and once they have enough practice we let them be. They get their own breakfast and lunch. I refuse to help unless they can’t reach something or it is something they haven’t made before.

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I have the older kids help the younger ones when needed. This, I believe, teaches them leadership skills. This is because the big kids seriously hate helping their siblings in the kitchen so they instead teach them! I am so sneaky!
“Princess this is how much cheese you use for a quesadilla. See?”
“Elf, you want to put the water on medium to boil. Don’t forget the lid!”

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Of course there are days it is more like this:
“What were you thinking? That is far too much cheese. Here let ME do it! Sheesh! I have to do everything, don’t I.”

Yes, I have heard these types of sentences uttered from their mouths. Yes, I realize they must have gotten it from me. Ha! I admit I am far from perfect and sometimes my patience hits a brick wall.

This is when I intervene and teach us all a lesson. “Are we using helpful tones? OK, we all really need to be more aware with how we speak to one another.” Yes, I take mental notes and pray to remember these wise words for when my patience jumps out the window. Some days are better than others. I am sure you will agree with this.

Back to cooking, I have already told you my kids help with menu planning, grocery list making, and shopping. You can read about it here. I also let them help cook. Recently I realized that most often it is C-Dog who is helping and the others very loudly protest.

C-Dog has ambitions to be a chef and so I am quite guilty of allowing him as much opportunity as possible to be in the kitchen. He is also my kid with dyslexia and so reading is always a fight. I can get him to read recipes so I use cooking as an opportunity for that.

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My intentions are pure, but the reality is I am not being fair to the others. When I fully realized that I decided I needed a schedule. It is simple really; there are 4 big kids and 4 dinner chores. They rotate through them so each kid cooks at least once a week. There have been some glitches though. I won’t let them cook when they are sick. That puts a halt in our rotation. We realized it is easier to just halt the rotation instead of trying to fil in the hole because that is when it gets messy and unfair.

We have been using this rotation for over a month now and it is really working! Who would have thought something so simple could be so successful!
Due to the great success of this random idea, I plan on remaking (current one has water spots and food stains) and laminating the schedule and making it permanent. I will get hook and loops so names can be moved easily. Right now I am using sticky tack.
Yay!20140920_085613 for a successful idea!

In the picture I put numbers, but the original has little name tags. My kids didn’t ask for me to have this blog public so I won’t use their real names 🙂

The Washboard Part 3

My kids like to help me with household duties. They sweep, mop, dust, cook, and more. Zen watches us work as a team and has taken to participating. Normally this results in more mess, but how else would he learn? The chore Zen currently likes the most is laundry. Who can resist a tub full of water and a washboard that makes noise! Zen is our noisy boy. He loves all things noisy and creates “music” wherever he goes 🙂

I think it is very easy for adults to either think a child can’t help (too young) or simply do not want them to because they (the adult) can get the job done faster and more accurate. We are doing our children a disservice though when we have this mindset. They aren’t learning! How are they going to learn if we aren’t letting them try and gently guiding them. I have to admit I have to often hold my tongue and not intervene, but I am seeing continual progress. Best of all they are learning to clean the way I think is best 😉 Ha! 

So here is my challenge, let your kids do the house work with you. Show them how to use the kitchen correctly. Yes, my kids chop vegetables for me and I bet they hold the knife better than many adults. Teach them the best way to mop. Help them learn how to do laundry. You will be teaching them skills they will need as adults and you will have help getting the work done! Make sure you relax though because it isn’t going to be done perfectly. Let the memories and skills be made!

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