1. Teach them the “low, slow, and careful” mantra.
Repeat this mantra often. It is important to clearly teach what you would like your child to be doing. When stirring, pouring, measuring, or really anything else in the kitchen, it is important to go low, slow, and careful. Repeating this provides a quick and concise reminder for your child.
2.Talk through the measurements.
Even if they don’t fully understand- talk about it outloud.
“We need 2 1/2 cups, we have a 1/2 cup measuring cup, so we need five scoops. Help me count them slow and careful. 1,2,3,4,5.”
This kind of self-talk teaches vocabulary and thinking processes.
3. Get a stool.
Having a stool will allow children to see and reach what is happening. They will be able to help is safer, cleaner ways. And having a stool will give them a place to be besides the counter.
However, I personally think that the counter is a great back up option if a stool isn’t possible. Being up close and personal with what is happening is so powerful for learning. Just be sure to clearly talk about the edges of the counter and watch them closely.
4. Emphasize the clean-up by letting them help to their highest ability.
Being included in a job makes it so much more exciting, and right now you are laying the foundation for how they will view cleaning-up throughout their life. Let them bring dishes to the sink, throw wrappers away, rinse dishes, or sweep the floor, whatever they are able to do. Plus, learning through big jobs is so powerful. Read more about it here.
5. Have Fun!
Lick the spoon, snitch the chocolate chips, watch your dish cook in the oven. These are precious learning moments, bonding experiences, and fun memories. Because fun is what cooking with kids is all about!