My kids often see me in the kitchen and want to jump in and help. I usually welcome them in and give them an appropriate job. Honestly, though, sometimes it is just so much easier and faster to have the kitchen to myself. In those moments, I have to remind myself how quickly they are growing and how fleeting this time with them is. I also keep in mind that every time we are together in the kitchen, they are learning and we are bonding and so what if it takes a little longer to get things done.
They are especially helpful when it comes to baking. I've always had this idea in my head, though, that I have to be supervising every step and that the kids NEVER can be trusted to crack the eggs. Why? Well, who wants to bite into a sliver of egg shell in their brownie?
So, for so many years, I've been standing watch over them and jumping in to crack the eggs. Eventually, I started to back off and would watch them crack the eggs, then do a thorough inspection to make sure none had slipped into the mixing bowl. They almost never did. I must have at one time gotten a bite of egg shell to spark this paranoia...I don't remember exactly where it started.
Anyway, last week, my youngest, who is 6 now, pulled out a mix from the pantry for chocolate chip muffins and asked to make them. However, he wanted to do it all on his own -- egg cracking and all. I admit that in my head I freaked out a little. Then I figured, he's never going to learn how to do it if I don't allow him to do it. Worst case scenario...a little extra crunch. So, I backed off. I didn't hover. I didn't make him read the instructions to me. I didn't measure for him. I left him to it. And he did it. All by himself. It was a big confidence booster for him to see the final product and know that he was ENTIRELY responsible for it. And in the end, the muffins were delicious...and not a spec of shells in the batch. :)