Lately I've been letting Little Dude help me in the kitchen more. He gets his own specific task that I try my hardest not to interfere with, usually stirring something or dumping out bags for me. He loves helping out and actually gets crabby when I don't let him help! I've found through some trial and error what really works for him and what doesn't, and maybe it'll help with your helpful toddler too!
1. Put on an apron and make it official. Then, tell him how handsome he looks.For whatever reason, this really makes him happy and excited to start cooking! Also, it protects the clothes, not completely, but every little bit helps.
2. Give him his own tools. We use a cheap spatula and an unbreakable bowl for him. Knowing those are his and mommy or daddy isn't going to steal them gives him a sense of security. His tools are his and he really focuses on his task at hand.
3. No matter how messy the outcome will be, let him help and make that mess. In the photo above he tried to help me fill the cupcake liners, and it turned out to be a terrible mess! (He loved it, so between you and me, I loved it too!) We usually let him have his own corner of counter space to make a mess out of. Our home should be sponsored by Clorox at the rate we're going, ha ha!
4. If its safe to test out, let him test it out. He's tested out some things I never would, but it was safe to eat (disgusting, but safe) and he wanted to. I firmly believe that letting him explore using as many senses as possible only enriches his experience. Even if that does mean hes tasting mayo with seasoned salt or pre-egg cupcake mix.
5. Turn on some music and have fun! Slacker Radio has the BEST stations for kids, so we usually turn on something for him, but while we wait for cupcakes to bake or while mommy needs to clean up we have a dance break! It comes as a lifesaver when your helper wants to keep helping and has to wait!
What tips do you have to add for toddlers helping in the kitchen?