Cooking with kids is a great way to teach them basic skills and the fundamentals of healthy eating, but it’s also a chance for them to get a little crazy. Kids don’t adhere to the usual kitchen rules, mostly because they have no idea what they are, and it can be challenging to reign in their excitement. I love cooking with my three-year-old and I’m always impressed by how much knowledge she picks up each time, but I’d be lying if I said she didn’t sometimes drive me up the wall. Here are nine things that happen whenever a kid gets into the kitchen with you:
1. 20 questions, multiplied by 1000.
They want to know everything. What’s that for? Why are you doing that? Where does that go? Can I do that? Is it done yet? It’s kind of like hosting your own cooking show in front of a live studio audience that gets to scream at you and run through your legs.
2. Fingers in everything.
Be prepared to wash their hands a million times and for the love of Betty Crocker, don’t let them put licked fingers back into the batter. Ugh.
3. Flour, sugar, or seasonings everywhere.
It’s kitchen glitter! My daughter loves to take pinches of whatever we’re using, throw it into the air, and call it pixie dust. It’s adorable, or at least it would be if I didn’t have to clean it up.
4. Spills. Need I say more?
No matter how careful you are, something will get knocked over. Things will slosh out of bowls. Drips and slips are bound to happen. It’s the nature of cooking with tiny humans. Best to just relax and let it roll.
5. You end up doing all of the actual work.
They’re ‘helping’ you, but they’re not really helping, you know? You deal with the cracking, sifting, kneading, dicing, slicing, and heating. They dump in a teaspoon of this and a quarter cup of that and spend the rest of the time drawing pictures in your cookbooks.
6. They eat all of your ingredients.
Cheese, chocolate, stray noodles, a glob of butter they randomly decided to scoop up with their finger. You’re ready to dump in the raisins, but oops. Nope. They’re already gone.
7. So much whining.
You’re the worst mom ever because you didn’t let them put the pan in the 400-degree oven. Why don’t you just let them burn themselves? Gosh!
8. They lose interest and run away.
Cooking is fun and all, but Curious George just came on and they’ve got to go. Peace out, Mom.
9. You have a great time
Even though you did 90% of the work, you got to spend quality time together and you’ll beam with pride when they tell people about all the fun you had together. Also, it’s pretty impressive when you go to cook next time and they remember all of the ingredients you need.