NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Kids Helping Out at Home

Kids Helping Out at Home“I want to help!” is a phrase that was music to my ears when my children were little.  Actually, it still is!

Allowing, expecting and encouraging children to help out at home is a wise move. 

When children contribute to the work of family and home, they experience one or more of the essential elements of positive youth development:

-          they experience a sense of belonging because they can see that they are needed

-          they experience independence when they are given age-appropriate tasks that they can do on their own

-          they achieve a sense of mastery as they gain experience at tasks

-          they can practice generosity by volunteering to help without being asked or told

Although children vary in their development, the kitchen and mealtime tasks they can typically help with at various ages include:

-          Age 2:  wipe tables, hand items to an adult to put away after grocery shopping, place things in the trash, tear lettuce or greens, turn pages in a cookbook, make “faces” out of pieces of fruits and vegetables, rinse vegetables or fruits, snap green beans

-          Age 3: Add ingredients, talk about cooking, scoop or mash potatoes, squeeze citrus fruits, stir pancake batter, knead and shape dough, name and count foods, help assemble a pizza

-          Age 4: Peel eggs and some fruit (oranges, bananas), set the table, crack eggs, help measure dry ingredients, help make sandwiches and tossed salads

-          Age 5: Measure liquids, cut soft fruits with a dull knife, use an egg beater

NDSU Extension launched an initiative called, “The Family Table,” about 18 months ago.  It is all about eating, connecting, and savoring the many benefits of family meals. The website, https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable, includes practical ideas and suggestions for fostering communication and conversations at mealtime, basic cooking skills for preparing family meals, feeding a family on a thrifty budget, make-ahead meals, engaging kids in the kitchen, and more.  A companion page on social media includes short posts and monthly family meal challenges and prizes.  The page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ndfamilytable/.

Source:  Eat Smart Play Hard Magazine 2018-19, p. 20.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/en/washing-dishes-soap-sink-bubbles-1112077/ (downloaded 5/29/18)

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