Taking Responsibility in the Kitchen

11 Oct

Thomas is getting to a stage where he needs a bit more of a challenge in the kitchen. Something a bit beyond mixing and pouring. For safety reasons, I’m not yet ready to set him free on the stove so we decided to go with the much safer option of washing up.

We all want our children to grow into responsible adults and therefore it is important to start teaching them responsibility from an early age. Some might argue that we should let kids just be kids and that they have plenty of time to be doing chores when they are a bit older but toddlers and preschoolers enjoy imitating adults. It is how they learn. To them, taking the broom and sweeping isn’t work, it is part of play and learning.

Thomas already loves cooking so I thought that teaching him to clean up after we have finished cooking was a way of beginning to teach him some responsibility. He loved playing in the water in the sink with some bubbles and he really felt a sense of achievement when he had finished. He was very proud.

This simple sensory task not only teaches children responsibility but helps to develop fine motor skills, colour recognition and bi-lateral co ordination. Use warm water (test the water before allowing your child to start washing up) and a little detergent. At first you will need to show your child what to do but with a little practice they will be experts!

Other ways children can take responsibility in the kitchen:

* helping to load and unload the dishwahser (ensure there are no sharp knives or any other dangerous utensils) – this helps children learn to classify objects according to a rule (eg putting all spoons together)

* putting away the shopping – again helping develop classification skills. Thomas loves to help with this. I give him things to put in the bathroom while I get the bulk of the shopping away. Admittedly, I find all the things in the doorway and then have to put them away but he loves to help.

* sweeping/washing the floors – great for gross motor skills and hand eye co ordination. Give your child the dustpan and brush after they have eaten lunch to pick up any crumbs they may have dropped.

Do you have any other ideas of how children can learn responsibility? I’d love to hear them…

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