Let’s face it, sometimes having your kid “help” is absolutely no help at all.
And while some days, we just need to get it done, having kids help in the kitchen builds confidence, gives them real life skills, and will pay off eventually as they learn how to do simple tasks.
So today, I’m sharing my favorite kitchen tasks for the little helpers in your life.
But first, lets talk a little bit about tools. One of the best purchases I’ve made for my kids are kid-safe kitchen tools. Little Chef and Little Sous both have great tool kits for the chefs in your life. Everything from measuring cups to kid-safe knives, all for different ages and skill levels.
In our house, I’ve put these items in a place that is easily accessible for the kids, so they can get them out, use them and put them away once they’ve been cleaned. If you can spare a low drawer or cabinet for their tools, they will proudly take ownership and you won’t have their stuff cluttering your organization.
The other tool that lives in our kitchen is a step stool with non-slip feet. This is key. Giving them the ability to get up high without you holding them will make your hands free to do more in the kitchen.
Ok, so now that you’ve checked out the tools, let’s talk tasks:
Giving kids a colander filled with vegetables to wash in the sink with the cold water running is a great way to occupy them and get something done.
Who doesn’t love playing in water? Let them get their stool in place, pull out the colander and place it in the sink.
Run the water, and let them play as they rinse produce and give them a dry towel next to the sink to let the produce dry on.
Cut softer produce
We love kid-safe knives. My daughter has been using hers since age 2 and is still using them today at age 7.
Cutting softer produce like cucumber, tomato and banana are a perfect way for them to help. Place a bowl in front of them for the finished product.
It doesn’t have to be pretty, but they are much more likely to eat it if they helped cut it.
Who doesn’t love scooping, packing and weighing?! Maybe it’s just my kids, but give them some measuring cups and spoons and a little direction and they are happy for at least 5 minutes.
Whether baking cookies or measuring ingredients for a favorite soup, you can have them help and talk a little about cooking math (1/4 cup + 1 tbsp etc).
It may be a little messy, but boy will they be so proud of their role in that dish.
Put dishes away and setting the table
This is a BIG one.
When my daughter was about 2, I moved all our daily dishes and silverware to drawers that she could reach.
Her job at meal time is to set the table and when the dishwasher is clean, she puts away all the silverware and any dishes or glasses she can reach.
Today, Stella is 7 and Maximo is almost 2 and he is following her lead with all things kitchen support. He is learning from her and is so incredibly proud to do and be just like his big sis. These habits will last a lifetime, build confidence, good manners and reinforce the idea that we are more successful together.