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#1 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I want to make things with DD and I can't seem to do it without feeling stress and tension.

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#2 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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I actually do enjoy working in the kitchen with my kids most of the time. But, not all the time. Sometimes I just want or need to make something quickly with as little of a mess as possible. If the kids help, it's messy - lol.

How old is your dd? There are some things I've learned to do with the kids that make things a bit easier.

All my kids help frequently. My 10 year old makes lots of things on his own. The way he helps now is to make a part of dinner, like the garlic bread, all on his own. My five year old likes to be very involved with me, but he's not ready for independent cooking yet. He can cut veggies, shred cheese, stir, dump ingredients, etc. If I need him out of my way, I have him cut veggies or something similar on a seperate counter than where I'm working. If we are baking, I use the biggest bowl possible so there's less of a chance that things will get spilled or sloshed out.

My two year old likes to dump pre-measured ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir. He'd be more involved if he could. If I need him out of my way, I set him up at the sink with a few mearuring cups and a plastic bowl.
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#3 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 11:05 PM
 
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Yes, but in a controlled environment, for example...I let him help measure and pour, but not always mix...just b/c of the mess. It really depends on the day, my mood and what we are making. Some days, I am all for the mess and we go to town and just make things like crazy...other days, I am 'done' after letting him measure and pour, etc.

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#4 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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How old is your dd? You have to kind of meet them where they are. Don't have great expectations. It's a sensory thing for them, so let them smell ingredients, feel flour on their hands, etc., and don't expect them to handle measuring without help, stirring without spilling, etc., without help for a while. You also have to understand that cooking is messy under the best of circumstances, and the involvement of children makes it not the best of circumstances by a long shot. You'll have to sweep the floor and that kind of thing afterward, so go into the project expecting that and don't do any cooking with her until you can plan time for that as well. There is always flour on the floor when we cook together, no matter how careful we are, and we've been cooking together for a while. I've started pouring a bunch of flour into a big measuring bowl and having her scoop the flour into the cup and level off the cup over that bowl, and then just putting what is left in that bowl back into the canister when we're done. That's helped a lot, but there's still flour to take care of after it's all done.
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#5 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 11:19 PM
 
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I've often felt that same way when working in the kitchen with my kids. What I've had to learn to do is to plan ahead on whatever they are helping with. Prepare myself mentally for their help. I also often pick something for them to be in charge of.

Here is an exmple. When we bake cookies I try to do it like this.
They help me bring out the ingredients.
Then they get to measure (with my help) out the ingredients and add them to the bowl.
If we are hand mixing, I let them take turns with it. If we're using the mixer I just do it.
When the dough is ready I give them each a cookie sheet and let them roll out the dough, while I clean up the rest of the mess.
Then I pop them in the oven and take them out when they are ready.

I feel a lot less stressed when I let go and let them have control over some of the steps. And they are growing a love of baking and cooking because of it.

I hope that helps.
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#6 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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Not at all. It stresses me out. Makes me nervous. Ugh. And DS loves to be there. I really wish it didn't bother me as much as it does. I do try, but I am not usually just leisurely cooking, taking my time.

Double ugh. Something else to work on.

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#7 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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I do and I don't. My 4 1/2 yo wants to be my "assistant" in the kitchen. I'll let her do little things - dumping things into the bowl that have already been measured, stirring brownie mix, stuff like that - but not a whole lot. Only when I'm cooking/baking something relatively simple.

The hardest part, really, is that she wants to be able to see what's going on, but the stool that's in the kitchen doesn't get her up high enough, so she gets annoyed, and I have to constantly either bend over and make whatever I'm making on a kid-sized table, or be holding the bowl down at her level. Either is fine, from time to time, but not every single time I'm in the kitchen.

The other issue is that we can only cook together if DS is not awake, since he gets REALLY ticked if he's 'locked out' of the kitchen (I have a baby gate up, because childproofed cabinets are no match for him) and DD and I are in there. And if he's IN the kitchen with us, forget it.

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#8 of 33 Old 01-01-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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Mostly I enjoy it, but not if I'm in a rush or trying to make a fancy dinner.

It helps for me sometimes make things specifically to do with DS. Pretzels are great, for example. Mixing the dough is fun and then shaping the dough is REALLY fun. And it doesn't really matter if the pretzels don't look perfect or not. Actually, I find most breadmaking to be very enjoyable with kids...they loves to eat their creations. And the dough can be split as many ways as you need to accommodate everyone.

DS is a very calm child, so I've allowed him at the stove to stir things from a very young age (under 2 yo). I think his temperament makes a big difference.
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#9 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 7 1/2 and is a loud talker and high energy / doesn't stand still for too long. Likes to be fidgety on her step stool..I feel on edge working with her and like I am being crowded

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#10 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 12:30 AM
 
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I absoloutely hate it with a fiery passion. Hate. it. I still do it, because I know it's something that's good for them. I don't do it as often as I feel I should or would benefit them. But it drives me completely. insane.
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#11 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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It really depends on my mood, and what I'm cooking/baking. My 8 yo DD loves to bake, but even with her it is sometimes not so fun (and very enjoyable, other times). My 4 yo, he likes to stir and add stuff, but his attention span is pretty short - so I usually don't mind his 'help' b/c I know he'll zoom out of the kitchen as quickly as he came in.

I guess I'm just not as patient as I would like to be at times, and kids in the kitchen almost always equal extra messes.

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#12 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 12:37 AM
 
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We do a lot of cooking together. There are certain things that dd (3) gets to do a lot of by herself (granola, some salads/dressings, soups) and other stuff that I've worked at explaining to her that I need to mix or do more of it a certain way or else it won't be so tasty (like pancakes and other baked goods) and we've done this for long enough that she accepts that she helps less for that stuff and more for others. It is really helpful for the whole process that she's developed patience about that.

Sometimes she just enjoys hearing about what we're doing too (if there's something she can't participate in herself). I do try not to involve her in making anything that is real time-sensitive though.
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#13 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DD *loves* working in the kitchen but she seems to get soo excited and pushy, I wonder if she feels my tension and it gets her keyed up...I guess working in the kitchen is my time where I can gather my thoughts so maybe that makes it hard.

I got her the Green Princess Cook Book for Christmas and yesterday we made the All you need is love cookies which ended up being quite involved...I was excited to use the natural food coloring I got with her and was sad I felt stressed and actually had to take a time out during the cookie cutter time because we were both wanting to run the show it felt like.

It feels like I am failing in that area...I have my talents in making food and I would love to be able to teach her things and have her help but it feels so stressful that I hope as she gets older we can work together more harmoniously in the kitchen.

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#14 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD and I just prepared banana bread together....I was making it and she wanted to help so I kept and open heart and worked at staying calm...

she did all the banana smashing which is usually my least fav job...and at the end when it was time to fold the wet with the dry she got upset when she wasn't able to have control over that process and I can see it is times like that when it really gets stressful and I think I handled it well...

she also started to bang on the banana with her fork and then knocked something over and it was then I first noticed my heart rate go up and feel that tension...

so it is her pushy behavior and the noise/chaos that gets me...now to work on that...

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#15 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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I absoloutely hate it with a fiery passion. Hate. it. I still do it, because I know it's something that's good for them. I don't do it as often as I feel I should or would benefit them. But it drives me completely. insane.
Yep, pretty much the same here. Absolutely hate it. It stresses me out and I like cooking in peace. I do try to let them help when I can, but I do not enjoy it at all.
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#16 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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I am constantly tense when the kids "help" me cook. They love to help but it takes longer and makes a bigger mess than I want to deal with. I let them help because I know they love it but it really stresses me out. DH makes cookies and pizza dough with them and does a better job being patient.

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#17 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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I LOVE it with my soon to be 8 yo. She's very mature, responsible, listens to me, takes direction etc... She's a huge help in the kitchen.

My 6.5 yo - not so much. I want to love it but, she whines that she doesn't get to do this or that, wants to do what her sister is doing rather than what I need her to do or what she is able to do, complains that she's a "big girl" and can do things that I know are beyond her ability simply because she won't take direction and listen etc...

I adore cooking and can't wait unitl DD 2 is mature enough for us to do it together without stress.
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#18 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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I really enjoy it when I have plenty of time, am making something not too complicated that doesn't have lots of must-be-done-right-away sorts of steps, and have another adult to entertain the baby while DS and I cook. If any of the above isn't true, it's stressful and I usually tell DS that it's not a good time but we'll plan something for him to help with the next day, and then follow through with that.

We've been making a lot of recipes out of Pretend Soup lately, and it's awesome!! The recipes are in illustration format, so nonreaders can see what to do. DS absolutely loves it, and so do I!

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#19 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 05:30 PM
 
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mystic mama i have a dd like yours. i feel bad but a lot of her behaviours irritate me. i feel sad because its not her fault. its totally mine. i still dont quite know what get triggered inside me. they are different than yours - so her behaviour in the kitchen does not bother me.

however thru the years something that comes natural to me is to make sure before she has starts any 'sit down' activity we do something physical first. this has become almost second nature to me. i notice that affects her bed time too since a baby. seh gets some hard physical exercise in the evening (i actually have noticed that about myself too) - like we went ballroom dancing the other night for 4 hours - and she was out like a light. otherwise like yesterday when we hadnt really done anything physical - not even a walk, she had a hard time falling asleep. she just wasnt tired enough.

while i wont call my dd loud, i will call her miss jumpy. i have never seen her walk. she rarely walks. she skips, or hops, or runs. it is quite delightful to see such a 'happy' child - but i know its nothing really about happiness. its all about getting all that extra energy within her out. she is almost 7 1/2 and where energy is concerned she is no different than when she was 9 months old.

what i wanted to say here was i feel your pain. and hey i need to check out that book. dd loooooves cooking. i am a single mom. a treat for her many mornings is to make me scrambled eggs - sometimes with cilantro, onions and tomatoes, toast and tea. i supervise but she makes it all on her own. she loves the cooking part and has done other things too. i have spent an hour with her just sitting at the table and watching her while she did everything. the independent part of her needs me to be 'off the scene'. she even cuts and chops with sharp pointy knives.

it is always so bittersweet for me. i celebrate the young woman in her yet every single moment i miss the baby i rarely see in her these days.

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#20 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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Every chance we get, but my ds enjoys being in the kitchen and has always been that way. He has become quite a little chef and makes a mean loaf of bread and killer chocolate chip cookies.

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#21 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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DS is only 17 months, but I keep play kitchen accessories from Ikea in the kitchen so he has his own "tools" to use.

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#22 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
I absoloutely hate it with a fiery passion. Hate. it. I still do it, because I know it's something that's good for them. I don't do it as often as I feel I should or would benefit them. But it drives me completely. insane.

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#23 of 33 Old 01-02-2010, 10:56 PM
 
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My DD is 2.5 and I do enjoy it. I will often give her a small portion of her own to work with while I do the rest and that works pretty well for us. She prefers baking to cooking though. If we're doing something that we can't split then I let her dump in the ingredients after I measure them out. She likes to stir, so I will let her do that until she gets bored. Then I finish later. I'm not usually in a hurry though.

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#24 of 33 Old 01-03-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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I love it when it goes well, and hate it when it goes badly. By badly I mean me getting mad and sending them out of the room and/or having a humongous mess to clean up.

A couple of things that help. Start with a big, clear work space, and some rules. Our rules are hands must be washed, and no making a mess for fun. This one is big with us, since my kids are 3 1/2 and nearly 6, and I can't handle it.

Do easy things. Pouring, measuring, and stirring flour is not easy. It's hard for me to do that without making a mess. Our best kids meal is pizza. It's really easy when you buy a frozen dough ball and if you have mini pizza pans so each kid makes their own meal (and no one else's.) Kneading, stretching, pouring the sauce, sprinkling the cheese. It's also a way to get them to try new things for toppings.
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#25 of 33 Old 01-04-2010, 05:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mystic~mama View Post
DD *loves* working in the kitchen but she seems to get soo excited and pushy, I wonder if she feels my tension and it gets her keyed up...I guess working in the kitchen is my time where I can gather my thoughts so maybe that makes it hard.

I got her the Green Princess Cook Book for Christmas and yesterday we made the All you need is love cookies which ended up being quite involved...I was excited to use the natural food coloring I got with her and was sad I felt stressed and actually had to take a time out during the cookie cutter time because we were both wanting to run the show it felt like.

It feels like I am failing in that area...I have my talents in making food and I would love to be able to teach her things and have her help but it feels so stressful that I hope as she gets older we can work together more harmoniously in the kitchen.
By chance are you a perfectionist? Do you get tense if the food doesn't turn out just right?

I find that I enjoy cooking with my DS more if I don't worry about the outcome so much. Like when we do cookies. I make some cookies and he makes some cookies. Sometimes his cookies aren't the same size, gingerbread men lose their heads. Last time I made dinner rolls DS made some too. Normally I would take his dough after I finished all the others and make shape them myself, but this time he was putting them on the pan as he finished each one, so I left them. I was sure that they wouldn't cook properly because they weren't shaped correctly and were too small (I thought they would cook too fast). Well, guess which rolls DS ate at dinner--the ones he made. He loved them--he even took the extras and put them into his backpack to have as a snack at preschool.
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#26 of 33 Old 01-04-2010, 06:04 AM
 
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I love working in the kitchen with my three yo DD. She loves it too. The problem is that she often expects to be able to join in and cut up things when I am in a hurry, and it isn't always possible.

Baking cookies with my mom and grandma is one of my favorite childhood memories too, I think working in the kitchen together really creates that warm, togethery feeling. I hope it will do the same for DD.

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#27 of 33 Old 01-04-2010, 06:07 AM
 
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A couple of things that help. Start with a big, clear work space, and some rules. Our rules are hands must be washed, and no making a mess for fun. This one is big with us, since my kids are 3 1/2 and nearly 6, and I can't handle it.

Do easy things. Pouring, measuring, and stirring flour is not easy. It's hard for me to do that without making a mess. Our best kids meal is pizza. It's really easy when you buy a frozen dough ball and if you have mini pizza pans so each kid makes their own meal (and no one else's.) Kneading, stretching, pouring the sauce, sprinkling the cheese. It's also a way to get them to try new things for toppings.
Those are good tips. Those are my rules as well, plus "don't handle a knife on your own". DD is allowed to cut veggies and to hold a kitchen knife, but only while I am also holding the same knife, together with her.

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#28 of 33 Old 01-04-2010, 11:28 AM
 
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I enjoy working with one of my kids at a time, but not both. And not usually on the rushed nights where I'm just trying to get us fed.
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#29 of 33 Old 01-04-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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By chance are you a perfectionist? Do you get tense if the food doesn't turn out just right?

I find that I enjoy cooking with my DS more if I don't worry about the outcome so much. Like when we do cookies. I make some cookies and he makes some cookies. Sometimes his cookies aren't the same size, gingerbread men lose their heads. Last time I made dinner rolls DS made some too. Normally I would take his dough after I finished all the others and make shape them myself, but this time he was putting them on the pan as he finished each one, so I left them. I was sure that they wouldn't cook properly because they weren't shaped correctly and were too small (I thought they would cook too fast). Well, guess which rolls DS ate at dinner--the ones he made. He loved them--he even took the extras and put them into his backpack to have as a snack at preschool.
Great advice. If you are having trouble letting go, I might separate the cooking/baking that you do for your purposes and to prepare meals, and the cooking/baking you do with your child. Then the outcome won't matter so much.

I think it's healthy for children of all ages to help prepare family meals. If it's too stressful, then for now, I'd work in the kitchen with them as separate fun time.
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#30 of 33 Old 01-04-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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I also think it's important to not feel like you have to do it all the time but, to make a conscience choice to do it some of the time. And those times you are choosing to cook with your child, choose to let go of expectations, control etc... and choose to just enjoy the experience.

This may not work with dinner - if you're stressed and need to get dinner on the table, that is not the time to cook with your child. And, it's ok to say that. But, choose a different time - make a date to make some brownies on the weekend or ask your child to help you make dinner on a Saturday when you're not stressed.

It's not an all or nothing thing. It's ok to say no sometimes as long as you do create that opportunity other times.
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