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    Do your kids help in the kitchen?
    Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
    There's a reason kids love to play chef in toy kitchens. It's fun! Cooking with your children is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time together and teach them about nutrition, healthy eating, and the importance of helping out at home.

    Please remember to always keep children in a safe spot while cooking so that they don't get burned or injured. It's best to put pots on the rear burners when cooking. Keep pot handles turned towards the back of your stove so that your little ones cannot reach up and hurt themselves. Store knives and other potentially dangerous items in a locked cabinet, and out of your child's reach.

    Here are some age-appropriate kitchen tips and tasks for younger children:

    Toddlers: Announce, "Mommy/Daddy is going to make _______ (fill in the blank). Does anyone want to help?" You can pre-measure or cut up ingredients into small bowls and let your toddler dump in the ingredients and help stir.

    Preschoolers: Ask them to help you count scoops or pieces of different ingredients. Again, dumping and mixing is always fun. Tearing up lettuce or mashing cooked potatoes is also safe and enjoyable for preschoolers. At this age, they can also start helping to set the table and clean up.

    Grade Schoolers: Assign each child a night of the week where they are "in charge" of dinner. If weeknights are out of the question, try dinner (or even brunch) on the weekend. Let them pick the menu (or you can give a few choices) and assist them in cooking and serving. Eventually your child will be old enough to do it all on his own and you can have a night off. In addition, at the end of each meal, have children clear their own dish. As they get older, they can help clear the entire table and take turns loading the dishwasher.

    Do your kids help in the kitchen? How do they participate?
    Lainey_WebMD_Staff responded:
    My grands help with all prep work and are learning to use some kitchen appliances too. We also feel that teaching them to clean up while cooking or prepping will encourage great habits later in life. I wish we had a dishwasher.
    seeit2 responded:
    We have food allergies but I dont want my DD to feel like that should stop her from enjoying food and, especially, baking (one of my fave things to do). Even though she's only 4 we do a lot in the kitchen together. She makes a mean vegan chocolate cake!
    Lainey_WebMD_Staff replied to seeit2's response:
    Your daughter will be glad for the bonding that occurs during those special times. My grown daughter loves our Pancake Sundays.

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