In order to convince you that this is true and good, Iâ€™m sharing a picture of Bug.
Yes, sheâ€™s covered in flour.
Yes, she has squished blueberries in her toes.
Yes, I had to watch her so closely that the recipe (Dutch Pancakes, in this instance) took about twice as long.
But look at that face. That is a face of pure contentment, and itâ€™s a photo-op you canâ€™t get in any studio.
My tips and observations regarding young toddlers and kitchens:
- Your toddler will need his very own bowl and spoon. Bonus points if you have an extra â€œneatâ€ utensil to share, like a whisk, or a small rolling pin.
- Hold them up to the sink and let them wash the ingredients. Even if you have to re-wash after they leave the room.
- For a very young child, a spoonful of flour is enough to â€œmixâ€. A sprinkle of cinnamon makes the mix smell nice.
- My friendâ€™s 2-year-old enjoys mixing a 1/4 cup of dry rice around the bowl while we mix our bread dough. After we have dough, of course, we give her a bit to knead.
- Give an older toddler a little of each ingredient you are mixing. If the ratios are reasonably close, you can even bake/cook a mini version (as a pancake on the griddle, for example, or if youâ€™ve given him a bit of bread dough to knead, bake a mini loaf).
- If your toddler has the stirring thing down, get her involved with the â€œrealâ€ food. Let her mix the cake batter or pancake batter. Let him beat the eggs.
- Take a picture. Take lots of pictures.
- Never leave your child unattended, not even for a moment.
While youâ€™re cooking together, be sure to sprinkle your conversation with such tidbits as â€œOh boy, I canâ€™t wait to do the dishes! Thatâ€™s the best part!â€
You never know. It might work.