Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Mommy, Can I Help?"

Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Preparing to make a cake
I will admit that recently I often don't have the patience to let my kiddos come into the kitchen with me. Mostly, it's because they interfere with my cooking flow...and partly it's because they sure make a mess! It's not that I never let them help out, it's just that it's so much easier to do things myself. Especially these days when my cooking time is so limited. But I do realize that it's so important to have them watch me cook and to help out too. And they do have a great interest in helping out and learning about food preparation. They run in the kitchen when they hear me start clanking pans around and ask in their sweet kiddo voices, "Mommy, can I help?"

The best part of helping out!
So, on days when I make something that's easy for them to help out with {and I'm in a good mood!}, I will give them a kid-friendly part of the recipe to do. I remember when Maddie was just 2 years old {and I had all the time in the world to devote to only her}, she started to help me out in the kitchen. I have this very vivid memory of her helping me put together a lasagna so carefully with her little tiny fingers.

I think it's very important for them to learn not only about food preparation but also safety in the kitchen. Real-life tasks, such as cooking, help kiddos develop common-sense and "real-life smarts", so to speak. Which are, in my opinion, so very important.

I clearly remember Maddie telling me a while ago that she had to help me cook or else she wouldn't ever learn how to cook for herself. And she's right. Who else is going to teach them the tricks of making tortillas? Of building the perfect lasagna? Or of making delicious, chewy {healthy} cookies?

"Yes, I'm going to lick this clean!"
I want my kiddos to be prepared for when they are off on their own. I want them to be able to know where their food comes from and how to make a tasty, healthy meal.

And I don't just focus on teaching Maddie (and one day Elsa). I want Isaac to know just as much about cooking too. Sure, he may not be as interested, but he should still know how to prepare a meal. I'm sure that will come in handy for him one day when he's trying to win over the love of his life!

My mom taught me so much in the kitchen. And she had so much patience with me, or at least that's what I remember!!! And although at the time I didn't realize it, everything she passed on has come to be extremely helpful to me in my kitchen.

All I hope is that I can do the same for my kiddos.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process.
  • Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter's suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through.
  • Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives.
  • "Mommy, Can I Help?" — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos help out with cooking, despite her {sometimes} lack of patience!
  • Solids the Second Time Around — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts her experiences introducing solids to her second child.
  • The Adventure of Toddler TastebudsThe Accidental Natural Mama shares a few things that helped her daughter develop an adventurous palate.
  • A Tradition of Love — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy looks forward to sharing the kitchen traditions passed on from her mom and has already found several ways to involve baby in the kitchen.
  • The Very Best Classroom — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts reveals how her kitchen is more than a place to make food - it's a classroom!
  • Raising Little Chefs — Chef Mike guest posts on Natural Parents Network about how he went from a guy who couldn't cook to a chef who wanted to teach his boys to know how the food we love is made.
  • In the Kitchen with my kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares a delicious soup recipe that her kids love.
  • Papa, the Pancake Artist — Papa's making an incredible breakfast over at Our Mindful Life.
  • Kids won't eat salad? Try this one! — Tat at Mum in Search is sharing her children's favourite salad recipe.
  • Recipe For a Great Relationship — Cooking with kids is about feeding hearts as well as bellies, writes Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • The Ritual of Mealtimes — Syenna at Gently Parenting Twins writes about the significance of mealtimes in her family’s daily rhythm.
  • Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. — Alburnet at What's Next? panicks about passing on her food "issues" to her offspring.
  • Growing Up in the Kitchen — Cassie at There's a Pickle in My Life shares how her son is growing up in the kitchen.
  • Harvesting Corn and History — From Kenna at School Garden Year: The kids in the school garden harvest their corn and learn how much history grows in their food.
  • My Guiding Principles for Teaching my Child about Food — Tree at Mom Grooves uses these guiding principles to give her daughter a love of good food and an understanding of nutrition as well as to empower her to make the best choices for her body.
  • Kitchen Control — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro writes about her struggles to relinquish control in the kitchen to her children.
  • Food — Emma at Your Fonder Heart lets her seven month old teach her how to feed a baby.
  • Kitchen Fun? — Adrienne at Mommying My Way questions how much fun she can have in a non-functional kitchen, while trying to remain positive about the blessings of cooking for her family.
  • Kitchen Adventures — Erica at ChildOrganics shares fun ways to connect with your kids in the kitchen.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Finding the Right Tools — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares some of her favorite child-sized kitchen gadgets and where to find them.
  • The Kitchen Classroom — Laura at Authentic Parenting knows that everything your kids want to learn is at the end of the ladle.
  • Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.
  • Our Kitchen is an Unschooling Classroom. — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle explores the many ways her kitchen has become a rich environment for learning.
  • Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares lots of resources for using Montessori food preparation activities for young children in the kitchen.
  • My Little Healthy Eater — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her research on what is the best first food for babies, and includes a healthy and yummy breakfast recipe.
  • Two Boys and Papa in the Kitchen: Recipe for Disaster?MudpieMama shares all about her fears, joys and discoveries when the boys and handsome hubby took over the kitchen.
  • Food choices, Food treats — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea shares her family's relationship with food.
  • learning to eat — Catherine at learner mummy reflects on little M's first adventures with food.


  1. My compulsion toward cleanliness has made it difficult for me to really let go in the kitchen as well, but I'm learning! I figure the fun time I have with Kieran while cooking is well worth the effort to clean up spills :)

  2. Wow - it's like we're twins in our posts todat :)
    I agree, it's really hard trying to balance their need to explore with our need to gets things done (while not becoming completely insane) - lol
    Cute kids by the way!

  3. whoops - should say "today" and "get"... rats, I hate making spelling mistakes.

  4. Aww, I love this post! I have to admit I'm a little OCD in the kitchen so I'm nervous about involving kiddos in regular cooking that isn't exactly "kid specific", but it's great to see how you balance the two! PS - I would *love* to also know the secret to homemade tortillas! We have a tortilla press and have been experimenting with corn flour but they're still not perfect!

  5. So nice that you have warm memories of cooking with your mom and that you are passing those memories on to your kids! I've recently started letting my 4 year old to help me in the kitchen...it's messy and slow but fun too.

  6. Thanks Mamas...it's good to hear I am not alone on my tendency to tidyness and cleanliness ;-) Hahaha.

    @Arpita-I have been planning to post a torilla recipe...when I get the time, huh!

  7. I have the same problems with kids "helping," ha ha. But I do agree that you keep on keeping on with Isaac. Sam does all our cooking, and he learned from his mother, a wonderful cook!

    Also? Your post made me hungry for lasagna.

  8. Cute kids :)
    I have same problem with this, haha, very glad when seeing many people having same problem with me.

  9. Cute kids :)
    I have same problem with this, haha, very glad when seeing many people having same problem with me.


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