When Children Help Prepare Food, They Are More Interested in Eating

Parenting September 14, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Parenting Tips for Your 39-40 Month Old Child

Children like to be part of any activity. Let them help in food preparation and help them develop an interest in food. It also teaches helping skills, counting skills and cooperation.

  • Try to allow enough time to prepare meals so that you are not rushed.
  • Be patient and give your child a chance to help with small jobs.
  • When you ask a child to do something, give simple directions. “I need one fork from the drawer. Can you get it for me? Would you please get the carrots out of the refrigerator?”
  • Watch your child to see that he can handle the job. If the refrigerator door is hard to open, think of things he can get out of low cabinets instead.
  • Show what you mean. “Watch me pour the flour in the bowl. Now you try it.”

Here are some jobs a three to four year old can try:

  • Wash vegetables
  • Snap beans
  • Shape burgers or meatballs
  • Peel banana if top is cut off
  • Clear dishes from table
  • Get out silverware
  • Pour ingredients
  • Open packages
  • Pour juice from small pitcher
  • Spread peanut butter on bread with the back of a spoon
  • Knead bread dough

Learn more about Your Child: 39-40 Months from Just In Time Parenting. You can also go to our Resource Links for additional information on child care and development.

Note to Parents: When reading this newsletter, remember: Every baby is different. Children may do things earlier or later than described here. This newsletter gives equal space and time to both sexes. If he or she is used, we are talking about all babies.
References: These materials were adapted by authors from Extension Just in Time Parenting Newsletters in California, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.


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