Kids in the Kitchen: Memories Not Messes

As mothers we want to make every moment we have with our children count. We often hear the old adage “Quality over Quantity”; which certainly seems applicable when raising children. Our attention is pulled in every direction. The demands of motherhood are extreme and nonstop. A mom is expected to be everywhere and do everything with a smile on her face, all the while never tiring. Well, we all know that just simply isn’t going to be the case ALL the time. And so we find ourselves on a ‘mommy mission’ to find those little nuggets of time to create as many memory making opportunities as possible. One of my favorite ways to spend time with my children is while I am baking and cooking.

Let’s face it, we have to eat. Kids have to eat. Okay actually they want to eat constantly, but typically not the food we are preparing, sigh. Why not incorporate them in the food prepping process? Yes, I know you can do it faster and with far less mess; but remember as mothers, we’re looking for as many opportunities as possible to spend QUALITY time with our children. I find that when I’m cooking or baking with my kids, that they have more of my undivided attention than with any other activity we could do together. Which for me, makes the positives far outweigh the negatives of my children being in the kitchen.

Cooking and baking is fun for children. It’s one of the best sensory learning activities a child can do AND it’s a life skill they can take with them forever. Even if you can’t cook or bake, there are simple meal prepping activities you can involve your children with as you work to get the meal ready for everyone to eat. I have found the following 5 simple steps to help me remain focused on purposing to include my children in our family’s meal prep even when it isn’t the easiest process.

  1. Remember you’re raising children who will become adults, and the art of preparing a meal is a huge asset for their future nutritional needs as well as budget.
  2. When children are involved in the cooking process, they are more likely to eat the food.
  3. As they get older they will be able to carry more of the workload of preparing family meals, therefore giving you an occasional break from kitchen duty.
  4. Responsibility is a good thing, it gives children confidence and the encouragement to believe in themselves in many different aspects of their lives
  5. Time in the kitchen with anyone, especially children, often leads to the best conversations which helps to further deepen a parent/child relationship.

While it may not be the easiest to cook or bake with a child ‘underfoot’, I can assure you the treasured memories you are creating deeply overshadow any inconveniences. Purpose NOT to look at the mess, they can always be cleaned up, but look at the sweet child who WANTS to be with you, gleaning from everything you have to share. There will come a time when they will no longer be in your home to create special memories and make those messes.

Even with all the demands of motherhood it is an awesome gift and one that shouldn’t be taken for granted. While none of us will ever be the perfect mother, we can look for opportunities to spend quality time with our children.  With the holidays upon us, I challenge you to let your little ones bake and cook with you, relax, smile, and enjoy the journey. Make some messes but more importantly make some priceless memories.



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