This is my guide to baking and / or crafting with a toddler / child/ little one ! My oldest daughter Olivia is three years old. She’s been my kitchen helper since she was 1 and able to pick up and hand over a potato.
Over the years I have enjoyed cooking or baking all sorts of new things with her and my youngest daughter Abigail.
A lot of the recipes I have shared online, but I haven’t ever really shared a lot of tips. These are just little things that I have learnt through trial and error.
The number one tip for me to share is it should be fun for you and it should be fun for the child. If your not enjoying yourself, the child will know.
Timing is everything
I don’t have a carved in stone schedule but I do like to have an idea. Some days I plan to do something and it just doesn’t happen. Why? because the timing isn’t right.
Both my daughters like to cuddle when they first wake up. They also get cranky when hungry or tired. So I know to avoid crafts when they show signs for either. The former, I obviously get them something to eat and if happy after a full belly we usually craft! If the later and they are tired we read a book or watch a movie then craft.
Meal times are pretty solid for when breakfast, lunch, and dinner are. Their snacks are flexible. So if I know they are going to eat at 5 pm, I figure out how long it should take to make something and then double it.
So far, it works to have smiling faces when we do projects. Of course the picture of Abigail I used here is her starting the tears/ temper tantrum “pick me up” routine. When I get that I do cease what I’m doing to snuggle. Shes only a baby once 🙂
Accidents happen, so plan for a mess
Accidents happen, so expect a mess when you are baking with a little munchkin.
As an adult “cook” in the house even I have occasional accidents. I have dropped eggs, knocked over a cup of some liquid. You name it, it has probably happened when I am in the kitchen. So its only fair to be understanding of little hands doing something new.
Even if precautions are taken to avoid a mess, its still pause able. So just be ready to have some fun. However, never leave a closed canister of flour in a room with a toddler.
I left one today with my two daughters while I took a pan to put in the oven. I was gone a minute. Literally long enough to stick the pan in a preheated oven and set the timer.
What did my girls do? turned themselves into flour balls!
Expectations: enjoy the moment
I had a crazy reality check when crafting with my daughter the other night. I was for a little while “fixing” her beads when Olivia was done rolling them. Then it really hit me, why was I doing that?
She didn’t seem to notice nor did she comment. But why was I doing it? I loved how they were coming out. She loved her necklaces, so why change the beads from how she made them?
I haven’t changed one since. I don’t want her to grow up and not be confident in what she does.
But this all brings me to another tip in my baking/crafting series.
The expectation should be to have fun and enjoy the moment. It shouldn’t be about the final project, if what you made together doesn’t compare. Don’t worry if its messy, uneven, leaning to a side. Just be happy you had fun!
So these are my tips to keep it fun, enjoyable, and pleasant!