Thursday, April 23, 2015

cooking and cleaning with a little one

There are many ways life has changed since having a baby and continues to change with a growing little boy. One of the ways life is different is in the area of cooking and cleaning. Things that need to be done on a regular basis, but can at times be more challenging.

How do I prepare our meals with a little helper around? Each meal is different, but in general we do the same thing to get it ready:

- let him help. Have him help you cut an apple or mix the pancake batter or pour ingredients into a bowl. Emerson loves to help me in the kitchen, and I want to include him as much as possible. There are times I'm handling raw meat that he obviously can't help with or am cooking something so he can't help with that, but I try and find things that he can help with and he gets all kinds of excited about it.

- give him a job. For the times I am cutting raw meat or cooking something on the stove and he wants to help, I pull out a big mixing bowl and pour some flour in it and ask him to mix it up for me. He loves this and it makes him feel like he is helping me and he gets to do something fun.

- have an activity for him. Sometimes, if he isn't happy with other options I'm giving him or I don't want him to eat a whole third apply right before we have dinner, I'll bring out the crayons and paper and let him color.

- let him play with Daddy. If Daddy is home, and doesn't have to work, then the two of them will go play in the living room or go play outside in the back yard if it's nice out. This method also helps dinner get ready a little bit quicker.

-have him wash the dishes. And when I say wash, I mean, fill the sink up with water, add a few measuring cups and let him go at it. This is by far his favorite thing to do, though it can be a little mess/wet so just be sure you don't mind mopping up a pool of water right before you sit down to eat.

- let him watch a show. Sometimes, I just put on a show he likes and let him sit at the table and watch it until dinner is ready. Usually, he'll watch five minutes of it, and then he'll want to help me, so the show doesn't really keep him distracted for long. Which is why there are lots of other things I have figured out he enjoys doing.

When it comes to cleaning, well, I can't exactly say that I clean as regularly as I ought to, but I try. And with Emerson here to help me I try and put him to work.

- vacuuming. He sometimes gets pretty scared when I pull the vacuum out, only because it is our dog's archenemies and he goes crazy when he sees the vacuum out. Like, he attacks it and barks so so so loudly. It's ridiculous and annoying and obvious to see why Emerson would cry every time I pull out the vacuum.  So I hold him [which is getting tricker to do] or encourage him to help me by holding onto the cord. Sometimes the vacuuming just has to wait and we try again later. I would vacuum during nap time, but the dog barks if he's in his crate or outside -if the vacuum comes out, he knows.

- laundry. I let him help - dump in the detergent, dump the clothes in the washing machine, switch the load to the dryer, and even fold the clothes. He likes to dump things, so he'll dump and I'll do the rest.

- dusting/cleaning. I give him a rag or a wipe and he goes to town washing the walls, dressers, windows, whatever he can get his little hands to reach. While he's cleaning his things, I clean mine.

- dishes. I let him help rinse the dishes. I fill the sink with warm water and as I wash a dish I put it in his sink and let him wash it again. He really loves helping with the dishes, so that's pretty wonderful. I'm going to hope it continues to be one of his favorite chores so he can take over one day :). Though sometimes the dishes don't get washed until after he goes to bed. So, there is that.

- picking up/tidying things. I try and get him to help, we sing a little song and he helps pick up his toys and books. If I want him to bring me something/put something away I can usually ask him to do it and he is usually more than happy to oblige, so that's nice. And he likes things picked up, which helps. Sure he likes to make a mess, but he also likes to make the room clean. Again, I'm going to hope that's a trait that sticks as someone else in this family could care less ;)

I'm sure there are some things I've forgotten about, but the main thing is this when it comes to getting meals ready and cleaning up: let them help. Give a little job that is appropriate for their age, it makes them feel important and like they are helping. It also teaches them responsibility at a young age. Emerson has helped Landon pick up the dog poop in the back yard, and loves "helping" daddy. One day, that will be his job. If they learn at a young age that there are lots of jobs to do and that they can and need to help, they will [probably/hopefully] be more likely to help as they grow up. Even if it takes longer or is a messier way to clean up, let them help, encourage it. It is good for them.

What chores do you little your little one[s] help with? Do you have any tips or tricks you use when cooking or cleaning with a little helper around?

Depending on the meal, I let help. If I'm cutting fruit and he wants to help, I'll let him help -which usually results in us cutting a few bits of the fruit and Emerson eating it as I cut the rest on my own. But he likes to be there right next to me to "help" or get the first bites. If I'm baking something I

In this link up we want to share with you what we've found that has worked for us as new mamas to toddlers. Because we're experts  after being moms for a few years or so, right? Not really, but we have some experience and want to share what we've learned and we'd love to learn from you, too!

               Here's our Hosts for this round!

Here are the topics we will be talking about this Month!

April 2nd. Spring activities and craft ideas for toddlers.

April 9th.  How  you keep your toddler occupied while grocery shopping.

April 15th.  Potty Training.

April 22.Ways to distract a toddler while you're cooking/cleaning etc.

April 29th Clothes shopping for your toddler. (Where do you get the best deals, where do you shop, how do you save money) etc


Heather Leigh said...

Love this! I think it's awesome that all of our tips are similar :)

Meghan said...

I love when little kids help! Noah loves to help with everything too! I love how it's teaching them new skills and it's something that they truly enjoy!

Laura said...

I love all of these ideas! I can't wait for my little guy to get just a bit bigger to help me. For now, the tubberware cabinet keeps him entertained while I cook. :)