How to Start Toilet Training With a Toddler
9 min read | 28 March 2021
7 min read | 02 September 2019
But it wasn’t always this way, and I still have to silence that part of me that groans that having them involved will delay me from my 1000 other parental tasks. And let’s not even talk about the mess!
But, as teens who were embraced in the kitchen from 2yrs of age, my children are now a genuine help to me in the kitchen whether as dutiful assistants or in complete charge of producing a meal for themselves or the whole family.
Teaching children the essential life skill of cooking, means they can take control of their health and be well throughout their life. The best part, cooking, is fun and they don’t even realise they are increasing their knowledge of nutrition, as well as improving their academic and life skills!
Learning how to cook is an important life skill. Not only that, but cooking provides a great opportunity to teach our kids about nutrition – what’s healthy, why it’s healthy and why that’s good. In addition, it teaches safety habits (sharp objects, fire, gas etc.
Reading recipes and flicking through recipe books encourages children to read and follow instructions (later, they will learn ‘improvisation’ and ‘multi-tasking’)
The recipes also use maths concepts (measurement, fractions and proportions), which helps to improve their numerical skills by practical application
It provides important bonding time which not only creates precious memories, but helps to build their confidence. It also presents opportunities to praise your child as they complete a task, contributing to their self-esteem
They are introduced to new foods, which they are more likely to try given they are preparing them
Fine motor skills are honed in the kitchen, as are their five senses: see, hear, smell, touch, taste.
Children have an opportunity to express their creativity – e.g. using cookie cutters to make different pizza or sandwich shapes, collaborating on a new healthy cake recipe and decorating it, deciding on the design and ingredients for a fruit kebab, choosing ingredients they like to include in their smoothie and so on…
Children are more likely to try new foods if they are exposed to varied types of foods when they help out in the kitchen. That’s not to say fussy eating in your toddler won’t occur, but it does help reduce it.
Children develop at different rates and so their kitchen abilities will vary. Use your own judgment when exploring the tasks you think are suitable for your child.
This age is more about familiarising toddlers with the kitchen environment. Be sure to make the area completely safe before getting them involved.
Washing fruit and vegetables:
Set them up at the sink with a step ladder, fill the sink with water, and set them to task with washing with a strainer beside them. This is a great way to get them curious about an array of colourful fruit and vegetables which encourages them to try different foods
Weighing out ingredients and have your children add them to a bowl and stir them. You can also get them to sprinkle flour onto a surface to make bread, or seeds onto some pastry.
Get them to mash up food like cooked potato, sweet potato or banana with a potato masher. Just make sure the ingredients aren’t too hot
Simple cooking tasks:
Think of easy jobs such as kneading dough, spinning salads, squeezing citrus fruits and assembling pizza toppings
Remember, they don’t have to do all these things on their own, you can help them with any, or all of the above steps.
By 3-5 years, motor skills and focus have improved, so now they can attempt more complex activities.
More precise measuring with measuring cups and spoons
Soft foods like butter, bananas, mushrooms, and cheese with a dull knife
Good for hand-to-eye coordination, try with eggshells from hardboiled eggs
Simple foods like a parfait or sandwiches to start with
Rolling, shaping and cutting dough:
Use plastic cutters and a small rolling pin
: Buttering bread and spreading icing
Slightly more advanced cooking tasks:
Now they have grown up a bit, get them picking leaves off herb stems and hulling strawberries, cracking and beating eggs and greasing pans
Dips like guacamole and hummus
San Choy Bow
Why not choose a recipe with your little ones and let the kids into the kitchen? I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how rewarding it can be!
Brenda Janschek is a health coach, nutrition and lifestyle blogger, recipe creator, a passionate advocate for women’s and children’s health and a busy mum of two! Through her writing, coaching, nutrition presentations, popular online programs and recipe eBooks, she helps busy mums develop and implement healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits that can be easily shared with their families and friends.
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