Cooking with my Toddler

Recently, Emerson has been showing tons of interest in the kitchen and specializing in ‘cooing’ aka cooking. My first instinct as a mom is to keep him away from the kitchen so I can keep him safe. However, my ultimate goal is to raise strong, independent and capable children and letting him help is a great way to give him some ownership.  Our step-stool is the perfect height to get him up to the counter. We let him master climbing up and down on the step-stool with our supervision on the carpet before we moved it into the kitchen. Also, for safety reasons, we keep it folded up when we’re not around to monitor him.

I just love watching him try to copy what I do! It’s like I get a window into his little mind when we’re cooking and I can see him think things through and recall what he’s seen in the past. I know his fine motor skills are improving and he’s gaining the confidence to eventually do things on his own. Some of him favorite tasks to help with are stirring, cutting (with a butter knife) and tasting the food (of course!) He’ll actually get annoyed with me when I try to help him stir anymore! 

There are some additional benefits to having him help me. I have noticed a difference in his eating. Like most toddlers, Emerson will love something one day and hate it the next. The more involved he is with helping with the cooking process the more he is willing to try new foods. It’s also given us an opportunity to have some bonding time, something that has been more difficult with the addition of Eloise. Lastly, I can keep a close eye on him while simultaneously making a meal, instead of trusting him to play with the toys while I cook in a different room. 

It’s definitely not always picture perfect when he helps. Each task takes three times as long and I’m always on edge because there are so many way he can get hurt. We also get our fair share of meltdowns whether it’s because I won’t let him touch a hot pan or because we’re all done and he wants to keep cooking. But overall I love the quality time we get together and really hope he continues to be ‘moms little helper’ as he gets older.

Do your kids help in the kitchen? What’s your favorite meal to make together? Ours is cheesy scrambled eggs!

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