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Little Chefs

Mommy, can I help? may not always be music to your ears when you are trying to get a meal on the table.  (Take advantage of your child's interest when they are little; when they get to be teenagers their only question about meals may be "Is it ready yet?")

Did you know that the more a child helps with meal prep, the more interested they are in eating the meal?  So, having a child help with meal prep could actually result in a more pleasant mealtime experience!  Of course, be sure to supervise your child and pick chores that are appropriate to their age level.  A three year old may not be able to set the table themselves, but they can carry an item to the table that you give them.  A young child can't get the biscuits out of the over, but they could pour in the pre-measured dry ingredients.

Making meals together (or doing any type of household chores together) is a great bonding time together.  For a very young child, you can talk about what you are doing to help with your child's vocabulary.  ("Now we are going to mix in the flour.  What color is flour?  Flour is white.")  For children who are a little older, you can use this time to check in-talk about what has already happened that day, talk about upcoming events, plan future menus, etc.  For you music lovers, have each of you choose music to listen to so you learn about each others' tastes.

Times like this are precious in a child's life-they will become accustomed to helping, they will have memories of special times with you, and they will learn a valuable skill.  Look at it this way, if a child becomes interested in cooking, think of the meals where they do most of the work and you are the one saying, "Can I help?"