Baking is a fun and educational activity for kids. Toddlers are often thrilled to get in on whatever is going on in the kitchen, but many parents are hesitant to allow them to participate. There are lots of dangers lurking in the kitchen, so it’s not surprising that they are concerned.
But it is possible to allow your toddler to help you bake without having to be on pins and needles the entire time. These simple precautions can keep your child (and your kitchen) safe from harm.
* Dress your child appropriately for baking. Don’t put him in his Sunday best when he’s helping you mix flour and spread icing. If possible, dress him in play clothes where you won’t be too upset if they’re stained. If that’s not a option, put an old t-shirt or apron on over whatever he happens to be wearing.
* If staining the counters is a concern, cover them with newspaper or wax paper before you get started. Even if your counters are stainproof, this will make clean-up a breeze.
* If your toddler is agreeable to it, consider letting her do her part from her high chair. The tray will help keep everything within easy reach, and you won’t have to worry about a possible fall like you would if she were standing on a step stool to reach the counter.
* Hold onto the bowl when you let your toddler do the adding of the ingredients or the stirring. If you don’t, you’re practically guaranteed a mess!
* Cutting is a good skill for toddlers to learn if given the right tools. Instead of sharp knives, let them use butter knives, or even plastic ones. They won’t be able to cut hard foods with them, but they can use them to cut things like bananas and sticks of butter.
* Each time you and your toddler cook together, remind him of potential dangers. Young children forget such things quickly. You can never tell them that the oven is too hot to touch too many times.
* If your child is insistent on doing something that he is not ready for, find a way to work around it. For example, if he throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get to use the mixer, call him into the kitchen after that part is already done or let him mix with a spoon. If he can’t stay away from a hot oven, do the mixing with him and save the baking for naptime.
Baking with toddlers can be a little tricky, but it’s also very rewarding. The look on their faces when they see the finished product that they helped create is priceless, and the things they learn will stick with them for a long time. So don’t ban your child from the kitchen. Find ways to make baking safe and fun for him!
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