If You Have Young Kids
It has been a while since my girls were “kids”, but I still remember very clearly the need for quick action when they were small. Knowing where everything was made getting them out of the house that much easier. (Why is it that the smallest people require the most prep?) I especially remember thinking this when it came to travel...how could a child have that much apparatus to travel with? Wow!
Anyhow, back to the kitchen…
I stick to the same rule for each type of “kitchen dweller”: Storing things in “families” makes a positive difference no matter your habits or lifestyle.
When it comes to getting things done quickly, and/or getting the smaller members involved, here are some of my most helpful tips:
- Dedicate an area in the kitchen (a drawer, shelf, or low cupboard) specifically for ‘kid dishes, utensils, cups, etc.’ Making this area low/easily accessible to the kids makes them more likely to take the initiative of going there themselves to retrieve/put away their own dishes.
- If storing things on a low level isn’t your thing, or isn’t how your kitchen is laid out, having a SAFE step-stool for them to use is another option. This is a great tool for letting the kids help with dishwashing too! (HA)
- Have a ‘snack basket’ stocked with healthy options for the kids to grab when they get home from school, or when they're headed out the door for a playdate or sporting event.
- Dedicate an area of your pantry/cupboard to cereal/breakfast foods, so they can make their own during busy mornings. Store each type of cereal in its own clear jar for easy viewing, and accoutrements (raisins, dried fruit, nuts) nearby for easy-adding to oatmeal and other breakfasts.
- Get kid-safe cutlery and utensils that they can use in helping prepare meals.
- Compartmentalizing/categorizing storage cabinets and drawers helps teach good habits of putting things away in the proper places. You can opt to put labels on drawers or shelves to help with this (it would be a fun project to have them help make labels and help decide where to put things too).
- Designate an area of the kitchen (safe step-stool at the counter space or a low table) for the kids to help prep food for meals.
All these things help show youngsters that they can help, and be part of the kitchen experience, while also teaching them good habits. They'll learn the value of taking care of things by keeping them in the proper places, and will feel more capable of preparing food for themselves & others!