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Video:Life Lessons: Kids Helping in the Kitchen

with Kathy Moore

Need some help with the dishes? Allowing your children to lend a hand in the kitchen is a fun activity that can help them develop skills -- from counting to building muscle strength.See Transcript

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Transcript:Life Lessons: Kids Helping in the Kitchen

Hi, I'm Kathy Moore for About.com Parenting. Cooking at home while caring for young children can be a challenge. This program offers ideas on teaching your children to help out in the kitchen.

Make Helping a Learning Experience

If your kids are like mine, they are already interested in helping out when you cook. Sometimes their desire to assist can get in the way of meal preparation. So I have been working on fun ways the kids can help and learn at the same time.

Choose Age Appropriate Kitchen Tasks

As a rule, we always wash our hands before we do anything in the kitchen. It is never too early to teach good sanitation habits. Then I choose meal preparation activities that are age appropriate for the child. I also set the kids up on chairs or step stools so they can safely help without fear of falling.

My kids love to wash fruits and vegetables before I cut them. I found some neat little scrub brushes that are ideal for the task. At lunchtime, my daughter loves to practice spreading her own peanut butter on her bread. I have found that she is more likely to eat anything that she helped to make.

Teach Skills by Following Recipes

Working with recipes is a great way to introduce counting skills as well as pouring and measuring. If we are mixing something, everyone gets a turn stirring. Whatever the task, I try to keep the activity short and simple so the kids do not lose interest.

One of my kids favorite activities is making muffins. In addition to measuring, and mixing, I have them count out the paper muffin tin liners and even scoop the batter. This is a great way to enhance their motor skills.

Plan Kitchen Activities Ahead of Time

It always helps to plan ahead. You might try keeping some undecorated cookies in the freezer. That way you can pull them out and let the kids decorate them on a rainy day. While I teach my kids to be careful and avoid spilling, I know that making a mess is all part of the fun Cleaning up is part of the lesson too.

Getting your children involved in the kitchen is a great way to start teaching them some skills they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.

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