Many of us have great memories of cooking with our Mothers or Grandmothers. We talk about some amazing recipes we make for special occasions that were passed down over the generations. Most of those memories are of us when we were little but not usually when we were toddlers. Personally, I wish I had more of those memories. My amazing Grandmother passed away when I was 12 and sadly some of my favorite recipes she made died with her. My mother cooked with me some, but she encouraged me to study more since I am a first-generation American born to immigrant parents (Cuban father and Ecuadorian mother). Being born in the United States, I had parents who wanted me to focus on school. Now that I am older, one thing I really wanted to focus on was cooking with my daughter. I want to create those amazing memories with her even though she is so little. I want to share with her my own love for cooking.
Like the title of my post says, it will be messy but memorable. Start simple. One of the first things I made with my daughter was a boxed cake. Let your child pour the premeasured milk into the bowl or have them put the dry batter in the bowl. This simple task means so much to them because they feel like they are helping, and THEY ARE. Yes, there will be spilled milk on the floor or the flour all over the counter, but no one will remember the mess. I promise. Don’t forget to let them lick the spoon! That’s one of my favorite parts of baking still to this day.
Praise them and Promote them to bigger tasks
Once, you master the boxed cake or premade cookies, praise your toddler. They will likely love getting the praise and compliments. This will encourage them to want to cook more with you. From boxed mixes, move up to something like scrambled eggs. My daughter loves cracking the eggs and adding them to the mixing bowl. It’s a big girl task! Scrambled eggs or making cakes from scratch. The more your child sees you cook with them the more they will develop a love for cooking.
Toddlers are Sponges
Once you begin cooking with your toddler more, watch as they mimic you! I laugh every time I see my daughter playing with her play kitchen and adding “More” with her pretend spices in her play food. After cooking with my daughter and noticing she enjoyed it, I got her a Kitchen Buddy. It’s an amazing piece of furniture that allows your child to cook with you. We love it!
So Mommas, make those memories! Embrace the mess! You won’t regret instilling a love of cooking with your child!