Desserts, Photography

Kids in the kitchen – yes or no

We have just a few days left until Christmas, so most of us started the preparation for the Christmas dinner. In my family, we cook a lot, and even when I told them that is a lot a food no one listen to me. So, I try to cook small portions.

Because of that I have time to spend with my little boy in the kitchen. He wants to make cookies or cakes so we are gone do them together.

The first time I let him in the kitchen to cook it was a disaster. We made cookies and all the house was full with flour. The second time, we managed to have flour only in the kitchen. Next times, we managed to keep everything in the kitchen, but it was a struggle.

From all of this I learned a lot and I want to help you, if you need help, of course.

1. Be prepared for a disaster – Even in the best case scenario the kitchen will still be a disaster.

2. Stay calm – You will get more done when you are calm. If you are angry, your kid will be angry too.

3. Don’t expect an amazing result. Consider it a test. I used to give my boy a space to work where he can play with the ingredients, but, he will invade my work space and play with my ingredients. So now we do everything together in small steps.

4. Choose easy recipes. If your recipe will take long or is to difficult your kid will get bored. Imagine a kid dressed in dough and flour running around the house.

5. Encourage him along the way and give him responsibilities. Tell him/ her that is doing a good job.

6. Be careful with your kids around the fire and sharp objects. I have only one child so it feels that I can supervise him alone, but if you have more small kids use your relatives to help you supervise them. They tend to be attracted by the most dangerous parts of the cooking process.

7. Present the result to all the family and give him credit, too. Explain that it was a team effort so he learns about team work.

8. Put him to clean the kitchen after cooking. He needs to learn about the not funny part too. He can wash dishes, etc.

9. He needs to taste what he cooked too, so don’t forget that.

We have a very small kitchen and not very bright, so photos from our adventures are out of the way. Also, with flour on your hands, I don’t near my camera so I don’t ruin it, so here are some after photos.

So, I say YES to all the kids in the kitchen. Go and have fun with them making what you like.

He is happy, you are happy because he is happy and in the end you are teaching him love, to cook, to spend time with his family, to be responsible, etc.

Now, I have to go and start making Christmas cards together with my son.

84 thoughts on “Kids in the kitchen – yes or no”

  1. Hey Gabi, nice points there! Point number 7 is something that caught my attention and i could not agreed more that it is a good opportunity to teach the value of ‘team work’ to the kid in that given situation

  2. You are so right Gabi! If we do not get children interested in cooking early how will they ever learn to cook for themselves? Or see it as something to do for pleasure not just a chore? Mess can be cleaned up!

    1. Indeed!

      I used to love the baking time with my Mom. Of course my sister and I would end up annoying her more than anything, and tasting raw batter over and over again, so she would send us to bed in the final stages (pouring into pan/ baking) of it. However, overall, we had great times together and I think of her when I attempt baking (less regularly than I would like…).

      I tried cooking with my Grandmother, when Mom was not around. But she didn’t like it. My techniques were not perfect the first time I would try it, so she would shoo me away and do it on her own. That pushed me away and so general cooking does not give me that much joy as baking does.

      Same kid, different approaches, different outcome.

  3. Hi Gaby great advices there I have a passion for cooking because my mom always included in the process from a very young age. Love the fact that you include your son in the cleaning process afterwards as well. It’s super important as one doesn’t go without the other and it teaches him to be respectful and to contribute all the way!

      1. Oh yes definitely but it’s not a reason to isolate them from the task. I used to dry the dishes when I was too little with my dad helping hands when my mom was washing up. Gradually I was doing more and more as I was growing up.

  4. Hi Gabi… love your post this is the time when i cook the most with my 2 kids and the flour is all over but is fun fun fun. I agree with number 7 that is the best way for them to understand team work…..number 2 is my favorite stay calm….. easier to say than done but true as well they will get upset and loose interest in something as beautiful as cooking

  5. I absolutely say yes to kids in the kitchen. Anytime i cook or bake my 8 and 6 year old boys are in the kitchen helping. It teaches them a step by step process, how to read, learn measurements, and the end result.

  6. I had a special stand built when my boys were little so they could stand counter height in my kitchen. I stood on one side of the island and they were on the other so we were facing each other. I would give them specific jobs to do, but I controlled the ingredients. Now, it didn’t always go smoothly, but it was showing them the process of kitchen work. The step by step following of a recipe. I also have a few recipes that are so easy they can do them by themselves at a pretty young age. My boys don’t bake with me often anymore, but they still are always in my kitchen.

  7. Nice points! I’ve always thought it is a good idea to let kids into the kitchen. It’s the only way to engage them. But as you point out, they have to be carefully supervised to keep all of their fingers and not set themselves on fire. It’s a real test of parenting.

    If they stay out of the kitchen the chances they will pick up cooking later is a lot smaller. And it’s great to pass on techniques and recipes from parent to child.

  8. I don’t have kids but I do remember cooking and baking with my mom as a kid. You are building wonderful memories when you do things like this with your child. Plus they will learn to be self sufficient adults who don’t have to survive on takeout when they move out on their own.

  9. It’s a yes for me too. My teenage daughter loves helping me in the kitchen especially when she was small. We’re having so much fun when we do the cooking together. It also gives me time to catch up on her. Thank you for dropping by my blog 😉

  10. I love baking with my daughter. She’s 7 now and pretty tidy. I put a lit of everything we have to do on the chalkboard so she can look at it and see what she can do. It gives her independence which she likes.

  11. Oh yes, kids in the kitchen! I have wonderful memories of helping my mom, and am sure that contributed to forming my passion for cooking. Nowadays so many young people hardly know how to make eggs. That’s sad, in my opinion.

  12. I’m having my son help me by making the center hole in my Christmas wreath cookies. Not cooking!
    I also thought I would let him pour the ingredients into the mixer after they are ready and prepared to be put in.

  13. Definitely a great idea to get your kids to help in the kitchen – the cooking and the cleaning, so glad you mentioned the cleaning part! I used to love cooking with my son and I think he did too. I very quickly realised it would be a mess and the washing up might need redoing when he’d dashed off again but it was the doing something together which was fun!

  14. Great post! My sons love to help cook (desserts the most of course!) and messes happen and tempers can flare. Not getting too invested in a certain result helps a lot as you say.

  15. My kids have always helped me in the kitchen! Yes, it is sometimes messy, but it is wonderful relationship building, and teaches them so much. My older kids are now very accomplished cooks and they are wonderful help. I appreciate them so much!

  16. Kids in the kitchen. That’s important. When I was young, my grandfather, a chef, had me “help” a few times, which got me interested. My mom started me with the basics, & it sprouted. I kept wanting to do more. Now I can cook anything, & have been in some gourmet kitchens over the years; some I’ve even managed ;}).
    Not that every person will grow into a master chef, my honey’s youngest still can’t figure out how to make much more than a frozen dinner & he’s 35.

  17. It’s a challenge but cooking should be fun not the most horrible thing in the world.

    Cookies are always fun but how about egg salad (or tuna) sandwiches? You do the hard part of chopping up the eggs but he can help peel or watch the toaster. And he can assemble. Or even having an assortment of salad ingredients and bowls with a set of tongs that he can use to add the lettuce etc to. And just the right amount of dressing if you have a bowl with a spoon. Make meringues … egg whites, sugar, a pinch of cream of tartar. Let him spoon out a bunch on a sheet of his own.

  18. I can’t wait for my two boys to grow a bit older so that they could come and cook with me. My 2 year old already wants to help with everything around the house, so I have no doubt that he will love helping me in the chicken too, because he also loves food. I am secretly hoping one of them becomes a chef haha 🙂

  19. I grew up learning to cook with my mother, which is probably why I love cooking. It’s probably the best memories with my mother and we still share new recipes (she is in her 80s now). I think it is important that kids know where and how food is created. It also builds memories.

  20. Love that you’re sharing this with your son. An added benefit of cooking with kids is teaching them math without them knowing it. Fractions are easier to understand when you can visualize the parts. My sons are much older now but I always cooked with them and had them do all the measuring. It’s also fun to watch them put their own spin on a recipe. My son once made a grilled salami, parmesan cheese and peanut butter sandwhich, and then ate all of it.

  21. Totally agree with you and great tips. You can’t expect teenagers or young adults to cook if they have never gained the skills to cook when they were young. – Kat

  22. My MIL told me a funny story about making sure her kitchen wouldn’t end up being a disaster.. with her two sons, and told them Lemon juice was like acid, and it’s not safe in the kitchen…. I thought that was hilarious.
    But yes! I can imagine the mess, especially if flour is involved…I’m not a kid…but I can make a disaster in my kitchen some days haha…


    M & Bear

  23. I’ve always loved cooking with the kids, when they where little it was my time to spend quality time with them after work, I prepared dinner with one of them while the other was being bathed, they have fond memories and love to cook themselves

  24. I am all for kids in the kitchen starting young. My 14 year old daughter was in the kitchen with me starting around two years old, and she is a very competent cook and baker. She takes turns being in charge of the church kitchen on Sundays and does an excellent job of it. It is such an important life skill. I just finished making little chef aprons for my one year old grandsons. 🙂

  25. Definetely yes! According to nurition science (and more) the kids need to be encouraged to participate in the whole procedure of food preparation, and of course in the consuming stage 😉 . They will enjoy it, you will have the chance to spend time with them and if you are lucky enough, they will be making tasteful dessert/food for you when they grow up! 🙂 Merry Xmas!

  26. Hi Gabi. Great points, and so true! Cooking with kids is a definite yes! I’ve tried to cook with all my kids, and my youngest is learning to make scones all by herself now. Patience is key, and messes can always be cleaned up. Love your post, and I look forward to more!

  27. Yes! Having my kids in the kitchen cooking with me is the best. They have wonderful ideas and sometimes we make fun, new recipes together because they are so imaginative ❤

  28. Cooking with my mom and dad was always part of my life. I still use what I learned like clean while I cook, and how to gauge time and what I’m doing. I am always shocked by adults that never had the experience and so don’t know, especially if their parents cooked. Every family is different but I know my kids will mix and fetch.

  29. I had my kids in the kitchen when they were young and now that I have Grandkids I have them in the kitchen when they are here. I also have a small kitchen and have to really watch my granddaughter when she is here helping me. She helps with all meals that I have to cook.

  30. I have an 11 year old boy who always wants to help and I think it’s important to remember that, while they sometimes slow us down, make messes, or even disasters in the kitchen, we’re raising a generation of children, teaching them to be self sufficient when it comes to preparing meals, not only for themselves but some day for their families. Some of my fondest memories of our together time with him growing up were of baking fun things for the holidays, he and the other kiddos rolling out cookies, picking their cutters and decorating them. They were lovely in their own perfect/imperfect way. Not only that, but as a child who grew up on a ranch where we raised our own beef, I think it’s also important to know that food doesn’t come from ‘the grocery store’. There is a great deal of work behind bringing food from farm to table. There are plenty of things to share with your child as you enjoy time together and teach them about the world around them, even if it’s just in the kitchen.

  31. What a lovely share! I learned to cook as a child, my children all learned the art of food in my kitchen, and now as a grandmother I love photographing time with my grandchildren cooking with me. Safety first, so that the fun and memories can last forever!

  32. My son also loves to be in the kitchen and bake. We are thinking of trying some gluten free mug cakes soon. Smaller portions and mess to be made. Love your photos as well. I can only aspire to be as good as you. Thank you for liking my post today. It helps that others enjoy the writing process as well.

  33. Our very nearly 3 year daughter loves to be in the kitchen and is always helping us to make dinner even if it is just cutting up a mushroom. She loves to feel like she has helped and feels proud when she sits down to eat. She jumps at the change to bake a cake or make some cookies
    I think this is a great way to learn a mass of skills so im a definite thumbs up to kids in the kitchen

  34. I think all kids should have basic skills, if not a love of cooking 🙂 My aunty never let her kids in her pristine kitchen, and they were to grateful either as kids or adults!

  35. I think kids should be allowed to help. My 2 year old knows what we need to make Yorkshire puddings and can practically make chocolate crispy buns by himself. He likes helping make Sunday dinner. Obviously his favourite part is the mixing of anything. I think kids in the kitchen is a great idea as long as it is kept age appropriate and obviously safe!!

  36. Hey there! If you place a comment on my post I’ll share the link to your blog! Trying to build a parenting community

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