Parents, grab your aprons! It’s time to get to work with your child.
Before baking or any type of project, be sure your child has an apron to wear, too. They will love to “match” with Mom or Dad and enjoy the work more when they are just as prepared. Do you have a work apron for your child at home?
You can either purchase a blank white apron to decorate with your child, or you can find a free pattern to sew your own. For either option, involve your child in the process! If you’re sewing, allow them to pick out the fabric, or if you’re decorating, let them choose fabric paint colors and then spend an afternoon decorating together.
As you work, remind them why we wear aprons and how helpful they can be in the kitchen. Explain that we also wear aprons when we’re crafting projects or working with glue, paint or water. Aprons keep our nice clothes clean and our hands clean as we can use them to wipe any messes.
Once you both have one to wear, be sure you have a safe place to store your work aprons. Keep your child’s apron on a low hook so they can grab theirs anytime. They will also appreciate the responsibility of putting their apron back where it belongs when you’ve completed your work.
If you’re in the kitchen, there are all kinds of things your child can help with. Even at 2 years old, my son is extremely helpful if I allow him to be and is standing safely at the counter with me. It’s a special bonding time for us, especially this time of year when we are baking cookies for neighbors or cooking warm meals for friends. He’s my sidekick!
If you’re in the kitchen, simple tasks young children can help with include pouring ingredients into a bowl, stirring ingredients, rinsing fruits or vegetables or scrubbing potatoes, tearing apart lettuce or greens, or breaking down broccoli into smaller pieces. Young children can also wipe down tabletops, put forks and spoons into the dishwasher or carry items from one spot to another. Talk them through these simple instructions, but trust their capability and positively acknowledge their good manners.
As for older children, embrace the opportunity to work on their fine motor skills with your supervision. More detailed tasks they are capable of include cracking eggs, measuring and pouring ingredients into a bowl, peeling an orange or a cooled hard-boiled egg, cutting soft foods like cheeses with a plastic knife, kneading pizza dough, juicing lemons or putting the soap into the dishwasher and pushing the “start” button. Give them the time and space they need to succeed, and thank them for their help!
Once you’ve completed your work, remind your child to hang their apron back on its hook. And discuss other tasks they’d like to participate in. Aprons make work so much fun!
About the Author
Angela Tewalt is a writer, storyteller and mother to two boys. She shares parenting stories and inspiration in Guidepost Parent.
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