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Kids in the KitchenFrom the time my daughters were old enough to sit up in a high chair I had them in the kitchen with me.  I gave them measuring cups and spoons to play with.  As they got older I involved them with pouring, measuring, stirring, peeling and mashing.

Kids who are involved in the kitchen helping prepare meals and snacks often eat a wider variety of healthy foods just because they helped.  Helping in the kitchen and learning to cook provides children with a variety of life skills that they will need as adults.

Here are some suggestions to make cooking with kids in the kitchen more successful:

1. Be patient and allow extra time to teach, supervise and clean up.

2. You know your child best.  Give them age appropriate tasks and look for signs of boredom, frustration and enjoyment.  Adjust the tasks to your child’s level of maturity and interest. And never punish or yell at your child for making a mistake or a mess while learning. The goal is to make cooking a positive experience. Think back to when and how you learned to cook.

3. Always supervise your child when using knives and when learning to peel foods like potatoes or cucumbers. And of course when cooking on the stove or using the oven.

4. Select a simple recipe that your child can help with and feel a sense of accomplishment when it is served.

5. Involve your kids in the everyday preparation of the meals and snacks you eat. They don’t have to be in the kitchen with you from start to finish.  You could involve your child in one or two small tasks or have them help pack their lunch by putting food into storage containers or bags.  Children can also learn portion control by count out a serving of crackers or measure a serving of almonds and put them into individual containers for snacks.

Love, Health & Happiness,