Utilize Your Little One's High Energy in the Morning

Hello there. 3 year old Chef Izabella (aka: Chef Izzy) here. My mom and I cook together just about every day. Allow me to expand on how cooking in the kitchen with my mom, enriches my life as a 3 year old:
1) I feel like a capable contributor in my home. I make a difference. I can help out in some small way with every meal. We have to eat 3 meals a day. Whether I help brush the braising liquid over the spare ribs, or I help kneed the bread dough, or I help roll out the pate brisee, or I simply whisk the homemade dressing ingredients together, I am helping my mom. This makes me feel important and significant.

2) I learn to follow instructions with specific boundaries, especially when it comes to adhering to our kitchen safety rules. My mom makes the rules and boundaries in the kitchen, clear. I love new challenges. My mom allows me to try new, fun techniques in the kitchen with her, as long as I am a good listener and I obey her closely. I know that she has my safety as her top priority. This is a key life lesson, that I will take with me in every stage of my life.

3) I enhance my cognitive, motor and spatial abilities as I work in the kitchen. I portion the appropriate amount of dough, or meat loaf, or pancake batter, etc in my mind as we are cooking. Sometimes I'll score the food with my hand, to make the right portion sizes. I know that 1 cup is more than 1/2 cup. I even know that when I cut my waffle into quarters (we also call them 4's) using a blunt knife, that if I cut them in half again, I end up with 8 triangles. I count mini paper muffin cups as I line a muffin pan. I know that there are 24 little holes in a mini muffin pan. And there are 12 holes in a regular muffin pan.

4) I have gained incredible dexterity from working in the kitchen, which has helped my writing skills on paper. Using a biscuit cutter to cut out dough rounds after I roll out dough, for our mini quiches or biscuits has helped! Folding dough rounds in half after I fill them to make our empanadas has helped! Crimping the empanada edges with a fork has helped! Scoring ridges on our gnocchi dumplings has helped! Cracking and separating eggs has helped! Rolling our tortilla dough into little balls, pressing them into the tortilla press and then tossing them back and forth to lighten the dough has helped! You get the point! Dexterity comes from working in the kitchen!

5) I am really gifted and talented. I gain confidence in my abilities every day. When I crack eggs and separate them for my mom, some days I crack all the eggs perfectly. Other days one slips. I keep trying. I know that with practice, I improve every single day. The point is, I'm 3 years old, and I can separate and crack eggs almost flawlessly. This skill has been acquired over the last year. I feel pretty awesome!

When I wake up in the morning, I literally am a bundle of energy waiting to erupt. My mom, transforms this energy by allowing me to help out in our home. I can help her make the beds. I can help her transfer the laundry from the washer to the dryer. The most fun way to use up some of my energy, is to help her make breakfast every day. She'll set 3 eggs on the kitchen island, with a whisk, a large bowl, a bit of cream, and some salt and pepper. She'll say, "Ok darling, crack the eggs, add the cream, add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk them up". And you know what. She can turn and look the other way and cut up our fruit for breakfast, while I get the eggs ready for her to scramble up. Then I wash my hands and I help her set the table. It might seem easier to throw me in front of the television, so she can get breakfast ready more quickly on her own, but revisit notes 1-5 above. You'll see why the time investment in allowing your little ones to help, is vitally important and rewarding in the long run. Many days, after we clean up our breakfast mess, my mom will let me help her prepare our dinner that will be slow braised all day. When I eat my food, I take a large amount of pride, in knowing that I helped make it!

So for my older readers, please take some extra time and patience, and let your little ones help you out in the kitchen. For my younger readers, remember to follow instructions vigilantly. This will make your caretaker want to include you more often.

Enjoy your day. Cheers and Salute! Chef Izabella

For some cool recipes, check out my mom's site at: Cook Out Loud

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