There are the obvious kitchen organizational tips like, “don’t put your kitchen knives where your toddler can reach them,” but there are also some that you maybe haven’t thought about. Here are three:
1. Consider Putting Spoons and Spatulas at a Height that Your Child Can Reach
Very young children love helping Mom and Dad. It’s a way that they learn, and it boosts their confidence. When you put kid-safe items at a level that they can reach, you also have the opportunity to teach them clean-up habits. “That just means that they’ll pull everything out of the drawer more often,” you say? Yes, but if it’s not the spatulas and wooden spoons then it’s the pots and pans on the bottom drawers, the potpourri basket and DVD rack in the living room, and the makeup drawer in the bathroom (eek, scary lipstick, better move that). You’re better off accepting that young children are inquisitive and viewing their curiosity as an opportunity for them to learn.
2. Make Separate Baskets for Different Kinds of Snacks
Parents with slightly older children are probably aware of this common refrain, “Mom, I’m hungry and there’s nothing to eat.” Having snacks that are readily available is a practical way of alleviating this problem. Have a basket that you fill every week with a variety of quick and easy snacks that you approve of them eating between meals. If you would like to give the option of an occasional treat, try a second basket that you fill with a few goodies. By placing snacks in baskets, you don’t have to think creatively for a snack every single day. Also, when you have a basket that is only for special treats, you can easily make it very clear to your child that these treats require permission. If they take without permission, you know right away that it wasn’t because of confusion about the rule.
3. Make Labels
Hey, this one’s even good for adults. Make labels of where items go so you and your children get in the habit of putting things away in the right places. It also helps everyone know where to find things faster. Have a section on your shelf that’s just for spices, and not only will your child learn where each item belongs, but your five to seven year old will also be able to practice reading and will be learning about classification.
Children can be a lot of work, but if you put a little bit of thought into your organizational techniques, the kitchen can be a place for them to learn good habits and skills.
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