Getting kids of different ages involved with weekly meal prep and kitchen clean up may sound like a daunting task. While children are generally hesitant to help with cooking and cleaning, there are some simple ways to help motivate and empower them to be proud of completing simple responsibilities. We asked mama and food wizzard Catherine McCord of Weelicious to share how she gets her children involved in the kitchen and some of her favorite cleaning products to use along the way.
DISH IT OUT
In my experience, no age is too young to get children involved with kitchen cleaning. In fact, I find in their earlier years (ages 2-4), motivating my children to help with the simple task of washing dishes was as easy as showing them the fun and playful bubbles that come alongside rinsing dishes into a sink full of suds. Though I would supervise and help with this process, it's important to ensure the children understand they share the responsibility of completing the task, which is something they can be proud of when it's all finished.
When it's time to gather the kids to help mom wash dishes, I like to use low-sudsing Dish Detergent along with the Kitchen Soap Bar. Both are plant-derived and allergen-free so I always feel comfortable letting the kids take the reins by rinsing dishes, pots, and pans on their own before helping me load them into the dishwasher.
When the dishwasher cycle is finished, I like to have Gemma carefully pass me each dish and watch as I place them back in the cupboards so she can see the pattern of returning the same dishes to their respective cabinets. As an added bonus, I let her help me push the dishwasher closed - it's super cute.
COOK & CLEANUP CREW
As Kenya and Chloe grew older, they not only became more independent in their ability to help me cook and clean, but they also became more competitive with how they go about helping, which isn't necessarily a bad thing! And while they're no longer fascinated by the dishwashing bubbles, it doesn't mean they've outgrown helping with meal prep and cleaning. For example, when we go grocery shopping for our school lunch meal prep, I like to split the shopping list in two and see who can find our ingredients the fastest.
After helping me prep each meal at home, cleanup can be as easy as assigning each their own designated counter surface to clean, letting them spritz the Surface Cleaner onto their spaces, and then judging cleaned their areas the best in a reasonable amount of time. For extra credit, Kenya and Chloe both know they can always use additional cleaning products. Some of my favorites are the Copper Cloth and All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate.