Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Growing Up in the Kitchen

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.

My daughter watching me cook!
I love to cook and try new things in the kitchen.  I always have.  When I was a kid, I used to watch some cooking show on TV that always led to me asking to make dinner that night.  It was just me and my dad when I was growing up.  My dad was all for my experimentations because he didn't like to cook.

I worried that once I had kids it would mean less time in the kitchen.  In fact, people even told me that they don't have time to cook anymore, that life with kids was too busy for home cooked meals.

But I figured out how to do it.  You let your kids help!

One of my son's first times stirring
Ever since Luke was a baby, he's been in the kitchen with me.  Even as far back as I can remember I used to hold him while I made coffee, explaining everything as I was doing it.  Then when he got a little older he sat in the  Bumbo holding (and chewing) on a spatula watching what I did.  Then he got a little older where he could stand and almost walk, he played with stuff in the sink.  

Concentrating on cracking eggs
The next stage was the hardest for me.  He was able to walk and stand sturdy on a chair.  He wanted to help me stir in the hot pan.  I let him, even though I worried a little about him burning himself.  But I figured once he did it, he'd learn exactly what he needed to.  Don't touch hot pans!  He did it once in the early cooking days, and he rarely ever burns himself now, probably about as often as I do now.

Now he's always in the kitchen helping me by using knives to cut, stirring, and his latest obsession- cracking eggs.  He also likes to just play around, he likes to get into my spice cupboard and taste spices.  He wastes things sometimes, too, but it's worth it to me to let him experiment.

Even though he's only almost 2 1/2, I know he has an appreciation for food and what it takes to make a meal.  I want him to grow up with the knowledge of how to cook and have the tools to nourish himself. 

Sometimes things go slower or get way more messy than if it were just me but what a beautiful thing to see a child learning to create in the kitchen!

How do your kids help you?

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:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)
  • 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.
  • The Night My 7-Year-Old Made Dinner — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares how her 7-year-old daughter surprised everyone by turning what started as an idea to play restaurant into pulling off making supper for her family.
  • Cooking With a High-Needs Toddler — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how Montessori-inspired activities and a bit of acceptance have helped her overcome hurdles in cooking while caring for a "high-needs" child.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – teaching healthy food choices — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her belief in the importance of getting kids into the kitchen using her favorite cookbook for kids to develop healthy food choices now and hopefully into the future.
  • Make Milk, Not War — Tamara at Tea for Three remembers the daily food fights as she struggled to feed a picky eater.
  • teaching baby birds about good food. — Sarah at Small Bird on Fire writes about the ways in which her family chooses to gently teach their son how to make wise food decisions.
  • 5 Ways to Enhance Your Baby or Young Toddler's Relationship with Food — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares simple ways to give your child a healthy beginning to her lifelong relationship with food.
  • Toddler at the Table: 10 Creative Solutions — Moorea at Mamalady shares tips for preventing meal-time power struggles.
  • How My Child Takes Responsibility During His Mealtime... — Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy shares how she teaches and encourages her 32 months old son on adopting good manners and responsibilities during his mealtimes...
  • megan — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares six tips for overcoming some of the the difficulties of cooking with multiple young sous chefs, and a recipe they all can agree on!
  • How BLW has made me a better parent — Zoe at Mummykins shares how baby-led weaning has changed her approach to parenting.
  • My Budding Chef — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom is no cook but is happy that her daughter has shown an inclination and manages to whip up yummy goodies for their family.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: An Activity for Every Age — Gaby from Tmuffin describes how she keeps her kids busy in the kitchen, whether they are one week old or two years old.
  • The Phantastically Mutlipurposed Phyllo — Ana at Pandamoly shares how Phyllo is used to create enticing dishes at home! Anything can be made into a Struedel!
  • Kitchen Kids — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen shares her children's most favorite recipe to make, experience and eat.
  • Independence vs. Connection in the Kitchen: won't you please get yourself your own snack already? — Lisa at Organic Baby Atlanta wishes her daughter would just go make a mess in the kitchen. But her daughter only wants to do it together.
  • Grandma Rose's Kitchen — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter reminisces about her childhood and dreams of filling her kitchen with people, love, noise, and messes.
  • Healthy Food Choices for Kids — Jorje offers one way to encourage children to make their own healthy food choices at MommaJorje.com.
  • Cooking food to thrive rather than survive — Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales is trying to foster a lifetime of good food habits by teaching her children about the importance of avoiding junk, cooking healthy meals, and learning about the whole food process.
  • Evolution of a self-led eater — Sheila at A Gift Universe shares the story of how her son grew from nursing around the clock to eating everything in sight, without her having to push.
  • 10 Ways Tiny Helps In The Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explores the ways in which her toddler actively participates in kitchen-related activities.
  • The Complexity of Feeding a Child — Feeding children a healthy diet is no straight-forward task, but Lisa at My World Edenwild shares some general guidelines to help your child thrive.
  • Lactation CookiesThat Mama Gretchen shares a fun recipe that will benefit both mamas and babies!
  • The Best Books and Websites to Inspire Kids in the Kitchen — Need inspiration to get your kids in the kitchen? Dionna at Code Name: Mama rounds up some of the best books and websites that can serve as a source for ideas, recipes, and cooking with littles fun.
  • A 4-year-old's smoothie recipe — Jen at Grow With Graces and her son set out to make a smoothie without the usual ingredients. She let him improvise. See how it turned out.
  • Independent Food Preparation (My Toddler Can Do That?) — Megan at Montessori Moments shares simple ways for children to prepare their own healthy snacks.
  • Follow Your Gut — Amy at Anktangle shares her philosophy about intuitive eating, and how she's trying to foster her son's trust in his own inner wisdom when he feels hungry.
  • A TODDLER-STYLE LUNCH + RECIPEManic Mrs. Stone photographs how to have messy fun during lunchtime with a helpful toddler.


Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

I love your attitude and the way you embrace their participation. I have to remind myself to be patient, but including kids really is a great way to keep enjoying yourself in the kitchen!

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

I agree that it is important to teach kids early all about things that could potentially be dangerous. One of Kieran's first signs was "hot," because he was so often with me in the kitchen and in reach of the stove. He never got burned, b/c he knew what was hot to touch!

Kenna Lee said...

I started the way you are doing-young! And now if I'm sick, my nine- and ten-year olds can cook a whole meal for the family themselves. (My five-year-old is more of a cookie-baker.) And the mess, well, it still happens, exuberantly.

Syenna said...

The kitchen is the heart of the home! It's lovely to see your children getting involved with food prep from such a tender age. I definitely think it's the way to go as they feel included, can stay close to you, and learn so much.

Anonymous said...

I'm so afraid of her getting hurt that I almost don't want to let her try anything! But then I remember that the best way for kids to learn is to get in there and do some things themselves.

Pshew! When the times comes I will definitely be following your lead and getting her in the kitchen at an early age. That's crucial!

teresa said...

I love how curious and adventurous he is! I try to be relaxed about experimentation too. It's so much more fun.
I waited too long to have my daughter with me in the kitchen just out of worry for her little self, but she loves it so much now I wish I had started earlier.
And like you said, it makes it possible to do much more cooking healthy things for the family.

Lisa C said...

Okay, so what I said before blogger ate up my comment:

I love the pics of Luke at the stove. I was just rifting through old photos of Michael in the kitchen (for the carnival) and I found one of him naked-butt stirring food on the stove, too! Haha

That's awesome he can crack eggs. Michael did so awesome his first try, but then he doesn't do it enough, so I think he kind of forgot after that. I need to get him (helping) in the kitchen more. Usually he is entertaining himself now, and I relish being able to make food without the hassle, but I forget how important it is to involve him.

Loved this post!

Hannah @Wild Parenting said...

Love the photos, your son's confidence and your attitude to the whole thing. I left home not knowing how to cook and I'm determined that won't happen to my kids...

Terri said...

Love this post – my children are growing up in the kitchen too! I was recounting to my 3yo recently how I ‘taught’ her to make juice when she was just 3 months old as I used to breastfeed her while pouring cherries into the blender. Now she adds the ingredients, presses the blender and with help strains the juice! I enjoy having my two in the kitchen with me – in fact my most stressful times in cooking is when they wander off and start creating havoc in some other part of the house! This entire carnival has been great for encouraging me to open up to their participation even more and we look set to enjoy many more happy years in the kitchen!