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In the Kitchen: Kids?!?

29 April 2013

Kids in the kitchen?!? I say a definite YES! I know a lot of moms feel like it creates extra work and more time. That is true, but I say it's worth it. Beyond that, I say, 'do I really have such little patience for my daughter that I won't allow her the opportunity to experience new things and feel helpful?' Absolutely not. 
I have been allowing Karis to help me in the kitchen since she turned 1. She loves to be in there with me, and when possible, I let her get in on the action. Does every single meal I prepare or recipe I make allow for such an opportunity? Not really, but I let her when I can. Even when it means I'm going to spend more time cleaning up. It works her gross motor skills, allows her the opportunity to feel new textures, and the best thing that has come from this, she tries new foods. 
I have heard for a long time that the best way to get your kids to eat new foods is to let them in on the experience of making the meal. I always just assumed that this applied to older kids. I feel like even at age one, this applies. Some of the foods that Karis eats and now loves, she eats because while I was washing produce, or cutting things up, preparing in some form or fashion, she was right beside me and just started eating them. She has eaten tons of fruits and veggies in their raw form from being with me in the prep stage. 

You may remember that a few months ago we went strawberry picking while we were in Florida at Christmas. Karis did not like strawberries, but it was still a fun experience. She now loves them and I attribute this to two things: 1 - allowing Karis to be in the kitchen with me while I wash and cut strawberries, and 2 - not giving up. If Karis turns a food down, we don't give up, we give it to her over and over again. I highly encourage you mamas to keep trying on foods with your children. If they don't like it, don't give up, keep trying. Also, remain positive! (There are more foods than strawberries, it's just the first one I thought of.) 

Not too long ago I was making some bread...and Karis got to help. The pictures from my phone aren't as clear, but when I pulled out the big camera she just wanted to hold it, so I couldn't get such good shots. This wasn't even something I set out to get pictures of...we were just having a normal day at home, but she was having such a good time, I just had to start snapping some pictures. 
 She got to play in the flour and use different measuring cups.
 She LOVED it!
 She got feel the texture of the flour. (She also put some of her bunny crackers into it, for added texture.)
 Was it a mess? Absolutely. But I wouldn't trade it. And we will do it again soon. I don't want Karis to miss out on experiences because it's not convenient for me. That seems backwards to me. It's my job to teach her, to show her new things, and to love her through it all. Best job in the world.
Mama, give me that camera!
 Besides, who wouldn't want to work with that face on the counter?!?

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