Updated on May 23, 2013
It is 5 o’clock, water from the noodles that are cooking is boiling over, the bread is burning in the oven and there are still veggies to chop, the table to set and not a clean dish to be found. If this is happening in our kitchens, it is definitely time to recruit some help. No, I don’t mean hire somebody, I am talking about enlisting our children, those that are old enough to help.
Having our kids help out in the kitchen can be a huge blessing to us and to them. Not only does it help us to get more done in less time, it teaches our kids how to cook and clean at a young age, something I didn’t learn to do until I was married. Granted, at first it will make more work for you and take more time to get everything done, but in the long run it will be a blessing. If you haven’t had your kids helping out, but would like to start, here are some ideas of things they can do in the kitchen.
1. Empty the dishwasher (except sharp knives of course)
2. Set the table
3. Get ingredients out
4. Throw away trash
5. Clear the table
6. Sweep the floor
8-12yo (everything above plus):
1. Make simple dishes and desserts
2. Fill plates for younger siblings
3. Wash dishes
4. Cut up veggies/meat
5. Mop the floor
12yo & Up (everything above plus):
1. Make meals
2. Work unsupervised in the kitchen
3. Make coffee
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and ages vary depending on the maturity of each child (my oldest was doing jobs at 7 that I would never dream of having my now 7yo do).
Spending time with our children in the kitchen also creates a great opportunity to talk with them about spiritual things or about whatever is on their mind, keeping those lines of communication open. I hope my children look back with fond memories on the times we spent talking and laughing together while cooking and cleaning in the kitchen.
Here’s a yummy recipe that a dear friend gave me before we were married. Our family loves it, and it has become one of my “tried and true” recipes I make a lot for company. It is also an easy dish for an older child to make or for a younger one to help with.
Do you have ideas of other jobs kids can do in the kitchen? Do your kids help fix meals? I’d love to hear your insights in the comments.
4 Chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 green pepper, sliced in strips
1 onion, sliced in strips
1 can- cream of chicken soup
1 can- cream of mushroom soup
1 can- rotel (undrained)
4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Sauté the pepper and onion together in a little bit of oil (I sometimes leave out the pepper and onion, mainly for time sake, and it’s still good, but it is best with the pepper and onion in it). Combine the soups, rotel, peppers, onion and chicken in a bowl. Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish and line with tortillas (about 2 or 3). Pour in half of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese on top, repeat, adding 2 or 3 tortillas and the rest of the chicken mixture, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake for about 45 minutes on 350.