Embracing Little Helping Hands

A Guest Journal With: Heritage Home & Hearth

I have 3 children that are with me 24/7 and as a home baker & cook, I’ve had to learn to embrace their little helping (and mess making) hands in the kitchen with me. As mothers, one of our jobs is to teach our children what we hope they grow up feeling equipped to do. It would be a tragedy if I spent my career teaching others how to cook and bake from scratch without also teaching my children. 

Teaching children to enjoy being in the kitchen and learning the importance of cooking begins at the very toddler ages that just so happen to be the hardest ages to include them in those kitchen tasks. Being in the kitchen together with your children is not only a learning experience it is also a bonding opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on because you feel overwhelmed. My best advice for you is to try see the chaos and mess they make at times as a joy, even when it doesn’t feel like one.

If you hope to include your children in your cooking and baking, here are some of the things I do with my kids to decrease my own overwhelm.

Create a Space for Them

Making a little workspace for them is so helpful. You can give them their own bowls and utensils, a little stool to stand on, and some seasonings & flour to mix up and play with. In the end, your kids just want to mimic their mother, and this will make them feel special and quite grown up. It may seem obvious, but be careful to make their space away from where you are chopping and using sharp utensils. Toddlers are fast!

Assign Simple Tasks

If you assign your kids with simple tasks, they won’t want to mess with everything you’re doing that needs to be more precisely measured. I like to let my kids beat eggs, whisk dry ingredients together, and do the honors of adding the spices that I’ve already measured out. Just be careful to have your ingredients away from the space that they are helping so that they don’t sneak in extras like salt or baking powder while you’re not looking. That’s happened to me plenty of times!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

At the end of the day, including the children in your baking & cooking projects is going to make a mess. It will make you feel a bit stressed at times, too. It won’t always look like the joyful experiences that are shown in social media photos, and that’s totally normal and ok. As mothers, our job is not to make perfect looking food, have clean kitchens, or perfectly peaceful activities. Our job is to foster relationships with our children, to foster their relationships with each other, to teach them skills & build their confidence, and create a culture in the home of growth, forgiveness, and connection. Enjoy it, even when it isn’t perfect!

About Heritage Home & Hearth

Kelci of Heritage Home & Hearth is a wife and a mother of 3 in Western Washington, USA. She has been a dedicated home cook and baker for over a decade, and has found her passion in teaching other women, particularly young mothers, how to cook from-scratch meals and bake delicious gluten free breads. With an emphasis on rustic, familiar favorites, Kelci’s gluten free baked goods have brought the joy of baking and eating bread back to many homes.

Discover delicious gluten free recipes by Kelci here.

Photography by Candice Hackett of Ivy & Tweed. Follow along with Candice's photography and writing @ivyandtweed