Kids and Chores: Tips to Get Kids Helping in the Kitchen
Today’s post is courtesy of Aviva Goldfarb of The Six O’Clock Scramble.
With Thanksgiving coming up, are you looking for ways to get your kids helping around the house – especially in the kitchen? Involving kids in kitchen chores teaches them responsibility, cooperation, teamwork and some pretty important life skills. As The Scramble specializes in making the dinner hour saner, I want to share ways your little ones (and not so little ones) can help in the kitchen. The chores that you dole out will obviously be dependent upon their ages and abilities, but there are lots of ways kids can help! You can enlist your younger kids to help with simple, one-step tasks, whereas your older children, capable of increased responsibility, can help with slightly more complex jobs.
If you already have your kids helping around the kitchen, good for you! If the concept is new to you, but you’re ready for some helping hands, there are just a few things to keep in mind. Check out my tips below for ways to get your kids started in helping out around the kitchen – and the rest of the house!
Tips for Involving Kids in Kitchen Chores
Explain why you’re asking them to pitch in with the kitchen chores. It’s helpful for your children to know that every family member must do their part to contribute around the house. You can describe your family as a team where each player has his or her “position” or responsibility.
Start early. If you’re a parent of toddlers, you’ll find that toddlers love to help! Their “help” often isn’t of much significance, and sometimes it’s a downright disaster, but keep in mind that you’re teaching good habits. There are lots of little ways that toddlers can help around the kitchen.
Create a “Chores” list so that everyone knows their responsibilities. If you choose, this list can include additional tasks outside of the kitchen. Having this list tacked to the fridge or bulletin board makes for a great visual reminder.
Make it fun! If your children are younger you can turn many chores into games. For example, if the vegetables need to be washed, pull a stool up to sink and let your kids give the veggies a “bath.” For some reason, kids also love husking corn – definitely an activity to delegate! Older kids can get creative making colorful crunchy salads and simple side dishes. They’re also great grocery bag “unloaders.” Make sure to give your children lots of praise for any way they contribute in the kitchen, large or small.
Keep in mind that when your kids are helping in the kitchen, the results will not be perfect. Finding the right balance with kids and chores can take some time. If you stay positive, however, they will continue to improve their skills. Also, don’t let it deter you if your children whine or protest when it’s time for chores, which they will at some point…they’re wired for it! Remind yourself (and them) that they’re an important part of the family and their contributions are necessary and appreciated.
If you have any additional suggestions for getting kids to help in the kitchen, I’d love to hear from you. Share your ideas in the comments area below.
Aviva Goldfarb is a Family Dinner Expert and founder and CEO of the family dinner planning site, the Six O’Clock Scramble. Aviva is author of 3 cookbooks including her most recent, “SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue: Earth Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Meals for Busy Families”, which was named one of the best cookbooks of 2010 by the Washington Post. Aviva is a recent and upcoming Today Show guest and is frequently featured in national parenting, lifestyle and health magazines and TV and radio shows.