Having your preschooler help you in the kitchen is a good way to get your child to try new foods. Kids feel good about doing something “grown-up.” Give them small jobs to do. Praise their efforts. Children are much less likely to reject foods that they helped make.
As preschoolers grow, they are able to help out with different tasks in the kitchen.
While the following suggestions are typical, children may develop these skills at different ages.
At 2 years:
- Wipe tables
- Hand items to adult to put away (such as after grocery shopping)
- Place things in trash
- Tear lettuce or greens
- Help “read” a cookbook by turning the pages
- Make “faces” out of pieces of fruits and vegetables
- Rinse vegetables or fruits
- Snap green beans
At 3 years:
All that a 2 year old can do, plus:
- Add ingredients
- Talk about cooking
- Scoop or mash potatoes
- Squeeze citrus fruits
- Stir pancake batter
- Knead and shape dough
- Name and count foods
- Help assemble a pizza
At 4 years:
All that a 3 year old can do, plus:
- Peel eggs and some fruits, such as oranges and bananas
- Set the table
- Crack eggs
- Help measure dry ingredients
- Help make sandwiches and tossed salads
At 5 years:
All that a 4 year old can do, plus:
- Measure liquids
- Cut soft fruits with a dull knife
- Use an egg beater
Make sure that they wash their hands before helping.
Learn about the behavioral milestones [link to p. 32—Behavioral Milestones] that happen as your child ages from 2 to 5.
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