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Kids in the Kitchen: Organizing for Independence and Ease

Somewhere in the toddler years, kids start exploring the kitchen. They’ve seen you open the fridge, they know where snacks are hidden, and they’re ready to explore behind those doors! But as parents, we can be a little hesitant to have our kids in the kitchen due to safety concerns, a lack of space, or their size being a hinderance.

So how can we get our kids in the kitchen, foster age-appropriate independence, and also feel like we have the space to let them join us?

Let’s go over some organizing tips, as well as some products, that can make a huge difference when allowing children to participate in the kitchen! (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Ages 2-3 (Toddlers)

—>Dedicate a pantry shelf (or basket) to the snacks you’re willing to let them grab and request on their own. Make sure it’s on their level!

—>Organize snacks in bins or baskets with easy-to-read labels (encourages sight-words).

—>Order some kid-sized cooking utensils so they can start exploring basic tasks, like spreading peanut butter on toast, or helping you stir! Here’s my Amazon faves:

Melissa and Doug Stir and Serve Set

Mini Silicone Kitchen Utensil Set

Ages 4-6 (Young Kids)

—>Think about finding a spot that’s easily accessible for kids to reach their own plates, bowls, and cups (non-breakable, of course).

—>Use a command hook on the side of a lower cupboard to store a foldable step stool.

—>If both you and your child are ready, order this set of kid-safe knives so they can start practicing with you:

Kids Knife Set

Ages 7-12 (Older Kids)

—>Assign a basket or bin in the pantry (or any cupboard) to each kid if they have specific foods they enjoy that are just for them.

—>Consider rearranging the fridge so that your children can successfully reach what they need, and be mindful of heavier objects (milk cartons, etc.).

—>If you’re teaching your young one how to cook with heat, try these smaller-sized oven mitts and silicone handle protectors:

KitchenAid Mini Silicone Oven Mitts

Amazon Basics Silicone Handle Cover

Ages 13-18 (Teenagers)

—>Just as adults love a coffee/tea station, think about making a lunch prep station! Include supplies needed for their lunchbox and a list of foods they can include so decision making is easy!

—>Label and designate spots for items in the pantry and fridge so that your teen can independently put away groceries and help clean up without having to ask you where everything goes!

—>Here’s some amazing lunchtime products that make mornings easier and cleanup a breeze:

Ziploc Compostable Sandwich Bags Ziploc Paper Sandwich Bags

Bamboo Bag Storage and Wrap Dispenser

Fostering independence in the kitchen can be a messy adventure! But with some well-thought-out planning and organization, it can be a fun and easy experience for everyone!

And if you liked what you read, join my email list! I send out a once-weekly email with all the tips, tricks, and articles straight to your inbox!… and sometimes VIP discount codes and sales!

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