“Ok mama, this is the deal… first we eat the candies, then we make the haunted gingerbread house.”
Well, all the candies got eaten and so did some of the cookies (aka the walls of the house) so it was pretty much a sugar-filled mess.
I love to bake, and I don’t really remember a time when I didn’t. So sharing this love of baking and eating of course, with my little ones kind of just happened naturally. I was in the kitchen baking up a storm and my oldest wanted to join in.
And let’s be honest for a second …yes, baking alone is a lot easier especially when my baking partners are two and three-years-young, but when I think about the joy it brings them and the kind of learning that’s happening while they help me, I think it’s worth it!
So what’s it really like baking with babies?
It’s messy, like not your average day kind of messy, but the crazy kind of messy; flour all over the floor, entire bottles of vanilla extract spilled on the counter, eggs cracked on dinning chairs kind of messy. It’s chaos, but most of the time it’s semi-controlled chaos and we end up making something delicious.
A couple of weeks ago I gave this a try with the three little ones at home and me on my own. Well things got a little messy (these are the pictures) the baby woke up screaming and a lot of ingredients ended up spilled on the counter or on the floor. I had a few, what am I thinking moments and almost gave up (my eyes were welling up with stress tears… those ones that come when you’re overwhelmed … worse than stress sweat for sure) but somewhere along the way I took a deep breath, realized it’s just a mess and kept going. We made muffins, ate the muffins and the kids were so happy about what they had accomplished.
What’s amazing about this whole thing though is that by letting go of the control, you know what I mean mamas (that desire to just do it ourselves) our oldest has actually become so independent and learned so much from helping in the kitchen that I am happy to give him small tasks now. The cool thing is I can totally see how he will be so helpful in the future (as long as he still thinks helping mommy is fun) and he’s learning skills that will be useful in the future!
Ok so I guess I should offer you all some tips, right? Well after doing a poll on Instagram about this we generated some great tips so I am going to add those to a few of my own.
Tips for Baking with Babies (aka Toddlers)
- Let go and let them learn
- Be sure to review the recipe beforehand or bake things you’re comfortable with
- Prep some of the tough stuff ahead of time
- Find the “teachable moments” counting and measuring
- Organize the stations so that they have “jobs” this will keep them focused and you can do the tough tasks
- Keep in mind that messes are just temporary and have them help out with cleanup
- Enjoy the little messy moments and don’t give up, it’s just a mess and for them it’s a big deal to take part…plus you all get a treat at the end!
Would love to hear your tips for baking with little ones! Please share them in the comments below 🙂