Summer time usually means family get togethers and parties for us. Today, as part of the Kids in the Kitchen Series organised by Study At Home Mama, I am sharing tips on how children can help with parties.
I have often been asked how I manage to cook and prepare with my kids always around me. Well, the honest truth is, over the years, I have gotten so used to my kids being around me that now, I just can’t work when they are asleep or away. My kids love to help me with everything that I do. I have deliberately trained them to be around me because that is the best way to not just keep an eye on them but to get a little help with my chores too!
I am the eldest among 5 and my husband was raised around 9 siblings. We both grew up with responsibilities, chores and looking after little people. We started involving our kids with our day to day activities from the very beginning. In the beginning, it was just about jumping on the sheets while I made the bed or sitting in their high chair nibbling on the cherries, as I pit them. Slowly, it progressed to letting them have their own pots and pans to eventually letting them stir or beat the puffed up pizza dough. We have found many benefits of letting kids in the kitchen. I have already talked about how we are growing healthy eaters and how they are learning science too.
Today I am sharing my tips on how they can help you when you are preparing for a party. Throwing a party means tons of preparation in not just cooking but decorating and so on. No matter whether it is a wedding, a baby shower, just random occasions, it is always a lot of stress. With little kids in the household, it gets even more. With little babies, it is easy to find someone to baby sit but toddlers and older children can drive most adults crazy if they don’t have activities. We have often seen, how when there is a party, kids get even more excited and difficult. To counteract that and keep everyone happy, I have found a few tricks to keep my children busy and happy. Here are 10 ways your kids can help when you have a party.
- Get them excited. Most kids are excited when there is a big occasion as all the adults around them are talking about it but with a smaller get together, kids don’t really know what is happening. I have found that it is always a smart idea to tell the children that someone is coming over on ‘Saturday.’ I also add what we will be doing and all the fun in store for them.
- Help with planning: I often ask my kids to make recommendations. My 7 year old makes better (sensible) recommendations than the 3 year old but we involve the little one anyway. We also talk about all the things we need to do and make a list together. If there is shopping to be done, I send them with their dad with the list making requests to make sure they get everything. My 7 year old loves to order his sister around. She, on the other hand, is more like the captain on the ship (‘shopping cart’) showing directions.
- Give them responsibilities: As I mentioned above, giving them simple responsibilities like shopping or arranging the table, counting the dishes and so on gives them the attention they need. They feel empowered that they are helping mom and dad. It also makes them feel proud of their accomplishments.
- Let them have their own special dish. Sometimes, if it is a very informal party, I let my children have their own special dish that they will serve the guests. Kids love that! They feel important that they have contributed too. There are many simple recipes that even toddlers can make. I love this Cute Marshmallows recipe from the Smart School House. We have a bread pudding recipe that my son loves to make. It is very simple and everyone’s favourite.
- Let them be the host: Kid recipes aside, you can also let them feel in control by being the host too. This is very much possible if you have a birthday party. The birthday doesn’t have to be their own either, it could be a little sibling who is too young to make decisions. They can be a host when there is a new addition to the family too. My son loved to introduce his little sisters to everyone when they were born. For them to be a host, they can advice you on all matters, dress up and receive the guest. That last part is what my son looks forward to the most!
- Let them make invitations: Kids love to draw and show their creativity. I love to use this as an opportunity to keep them out of the kitchen when I am too hurried. They make decorations from scratch ( not too good but…) but mostly they make invitations or gate passes to hand out to guests. They also love to make seat markers.
- Let them decorate: The decorations that they create by themselves may not be too good but with your help, they can create something really personalized and special. You can also use store bought stuff to decorate with them. Children love this and it becomes a part of their special memories.
- Let them write Thank You notes. Thanking guests for visiting is not just a good habit and etiquette but it also teaches children about gratitude and appreciating the people in their lives. We were recently surprised by a family friend when they called us a few days after a party to tell us how much their family loved our son’s Thank you note. We were surprised because we didn’t know he had even made one. My kids have been making notes for guests from when they were babies. I would make for them in the beginning but as they grew older, I started involving them. Now, they make on their own. Of course, it take time to make a note but something very simple with a word or two hardly takes a few minutes. You can read about more than 50 ideas in this post.
- Older kids in the kitchen: My eldest is now 7 years old and some days I find that he is my best helper in the kitchen. There are many ways older kids can help you. My son loves to fold rolls and wraps. He loves to use a safety knife to cut vegetables and fruits too. Simple desserts like Jello is easy too.
- Younger kids can stir, fetch or buzz. My toddlers love to mix things or get me stuff. They love to help me use our food processor too. Just pressing the ON button when I tell them makes them so happy! (Just makes sure the safety switch is in place though!)
How do your kids help you in the kitchen? Do share your ideas with us in the comments or on our Facebook page.
This post is part of the 31 days of Kid’s Kitchen Activities Blog Hop organised by Study At Home Mama. Hop on over to see the others posts in the series. Check out Study at Home Mama’s Sand Castle Cake