Looking for an easy way to spend more time together as a family and give your kids a sense of responsibility along with a lesson in participation? Try inviting them to help you in the kitchen, rather than shooing them out until dinner is done. By assigning age-appropriate jobs to every member of the team, you’ll cut your work in half and share the great feeling of accomplishment that you get from a job well done.
KEEP 'EM CLEAN
Washing fruits and vegetables is a task for some of the littler ones in the group. Keep a footstool on hand, so they can reach the sink easily, and provide them with a lightweight plastic colander to prevent any bit of food from heading down the drain. Teach them to give loose items, such as beans or grapes, a really good rinse and let them scrub root vegetables like potatoes and yams with a special brush kept specifically for that purpose.
At first glance, cooking may seem too dangerous for kids, but there are lots of simple things they can do that don’t involve chopping or going near the stove. Stirring a bowl full of muffin batter, ripping up lettuce for a side salad, and measuring spices are not only easy, but also basic building blocks of learning to cook.
If there was ever a classic kitchen chore, it’s setting the table. From placemats and plates, to cutlery and napkins, this time honored tradition is a great starting point when you’re teaching your brood about household responsibility. And if you’ve got a creative soul in the bunch, challenge him to make a centerpiece for a special occasion.
PACK IT UP
Don’t let anything go to waste. Encourage children to pack up leftovers in individual containers and store them in the fridge for a quick, easy meal later in the week. Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids containers come in a variety of sizes, so even that bit of leftover rice can be saved and reused in a soup or salad. And if they’re taking their food on the move, try Rubbermaid Lock-its containers for added security. With a built-in rubberized seal and four locking tabs, Rubbermaid Lock-its lids will stay securely on the container. For neat and organized cabinet storage, the lids also snap to the base and to each other so you can always find the right lid. Rubbermaid Lock-Its containers are safe for microwave, dishwater and freezer..
SNAP, STACK AND STASH
Drying and putting away the dishes is a good task for the taller members in the household, but the younger ones can still get in on the action. Give them any small, unbreakable items, such as plastic containers, that are stored in the bottom cupboards or accessible drawers. Teach them to snap the Easy Find Lids to their bases, to prevent any lost lids, and then stack the smaller containers inside the larger ones before putting them away.
When the meal is eaten and the dishes are done, it’s time to clean the counters and the stove. Show kids how to sweep up any leftover crumbs and deposit them in the garbage. Mix a natural disinfecting solution by combining one part vinegar to one part water and keep it on hand in a spray bottle. The fun part is spraying down all the work surfaces, but don’t forget to wipe it all up with a paper towel when you’re done.