The Perfect Recipe for Cooking with Your Toddler
My girls love to bake with me in the kitchen, and the Learning Tower is a great way to let little ones safely help out in the kitchen. But let's be honest: Baking with kids gets messy. I'm not going to sugar coat this. I would see pictures of moms smiling and helping their kids in the kitchen...and then when I felt stressed and overwhelmed through the process, I thought something was wrong with me. Why is this so hard for me, and looks so easy for everyone else? Baking with kids can get stressful, chaotic, and downright messy. Kiddos need to be guided gently through the process, because they are just learning. But even toddlers can dump ingredients in a bowl after you measure them, and help stir and mix too!
If you’re still not sure about baking with little ones, here is the recipe you'll need before getting kids in the kitchen.
- One heaping scoop of patience. Before baking with your kiddos, you'll need some extra patience. From my experience, the more kids in the kitchen, the more chaos involved. The reason for this is simply that all of my girls want to help at the same time. More kids equals more likelihood for messes. For me, I just have to remind myself to stay calm and be patient through the process, and remember these are children, not tiny adults. They need me to guide them gently through the cooking process, because this is how they will learn.
- A double serving of forgiveness. If you can go into the kitchen expecting mistakes to happen, you'll be more likely to offer forgiveness when they occur because you won't be surprised when the mistakes happen! It's so important to expect kids to be kids instead of expecting them to be adults. Expect mistakes, and then you'll be ready to offer empathy and forgiveness when mistakes happen.
- One giant sense of humor. Over the years I have learned that my attitude will almost always determine my kids' attitude in the kitchen. For example, if I am stressed out and grouchy, they are going to emulate my behavior. However, if I remember to enter into the activity with a sense of humor, expecting to laugh and enjoy the time with my kids, I'm less likely to sweat the small stuff. Be sure to have fun!
Try not to be too afraid of making a mess, and instead, focus on the memories you’ll be making instead. Baking together can be lots of fun!
Wendy is a breastfeeding, baby wearing mom to three girls and a boy who lives in central Illinois and blogger at themessymom.net.