Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen

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This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My oldest daughter made us very proud a few weeks ago when she cooked us a meal for supper that she’d never made before. It made me realize that there are a lot of things our kids can do that we don’t realize they are capable of until we give them the chance to try. It is certainly apparent to me now that she really can do anything she sets her mind to.


How It Began

She was doing a home schooling exercise in one of her activity books where she had to choose the healthiest foods from a list to make a healthy dinner for a family. From this exercise she decided she wanted to make her own menu for a pretend restaurant. After deciding on the foods she wanted to serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus beverages, she decided she wanted to pretend that our kitchen was a real restaurant. She wanted to be the server and chef, seat us, take our order, make our meal and serve it to us.

I wasn’t sure she could pull it off. I worried that it would be too much for her and that the stress of not being able to do it the way she wanted to would cause a major meltdown. I get scared of her major meltdowns because they are so hard for everyone to recover from, but she was so excited about her idea, and I loved the fact that she had come up with it on her own. So a few days later, after going grocery shopping to make sure I had all the ingredients for her to make anything someone ordered, we gave it a go.


We started around 4:00 PM. She set the table, deciding to put salt, pepper and ketchup on it as well. She wrote “Please wait to be seated” on the chalk board. She greeted us as we “arrived” at the restaurant and showed us to our table. She gave us her menu and told us she was out of pizza (Earlier, I explained the amount of time it would take to make a pizza from scratch so she agreed she wouldn’t try to make this). We told her we’d like water to start, so she wrote it down and came back with three glasses of water on her play cookie tray.

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I quietly talked the rest of the family into having the same thing on the menu to make it a little easier on the girl. She has baked with me many times but has never cooked supper with me (she has never wanted to), and she had never made anything on the menu that she wrote down. We chose spaghetti with tomato sauce and ceasar salad and she wrote down our order.

For the salad she washed and tore the lettuce, put it in individual bowls and put the croutons and dressing on. She chose to garnish the plate with a wedge of lemon which I had cut up earlier. This was our appetizer, which she served to us while she finished boiling the pasta. I did have to tell her to check the spaghetti noodles as she didn’t know to read the package to time it. She drained the noodles in a strainer all by herself. (That was probably the hardest thing I let her do on her own). She kept the sauce part easy by just using sauce from a jar, which she tried and tried to open by herself, but it was one of those stuck ones. She was actually quite upset that I had to help her unscrew the jar, as “customers don’t help the cooks in a restaurant!”, but she knew that she needed my help for that one.

After serving us her food she pretended to arrive at the restaurant and join us as herself. Then, her sister realized that the server hadn’t refilled her water glass so my oldest said “I’ll go get her,” and came back to the table as the server, got the water, and then came back to the table as herself again. Everyone loved the food and she was extremely pleased and proud of herself. She even brought us a bill at the end of the meal. She got to practice some math skills after we figured out a fair price for the meal and then we did a pretend debit card transaction and that was the night!

My proud girl

Since blowing us all out of the water she has learned to sew, and now she is trying to knit. She’s also talking about making us dinner again. I can’t wait to see what she’ll make next.

Have your kids ever made you a meal? How old are they? I’d love to hear all about it.

Photo credits: Author


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon November 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Baking & letting go — Cooking with kids can be a mess. Nadia at Red White & GREEN Mom is learning to relax, be patient, and have fun with the process.
  • Family feeding in Child of Mine — Lauren at Hobo Mama reviews Ellyn Satter’s suggestions for appropriate feeding and points out where her family has problems following through.
  • Children with Knives! (And other Kitchen Tools) — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy teaches her children how to safely use knives.
  • “Mommy, Can I Help?” — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how she lets her kiddos help out with cooking, despite her {sometimes} lack of patience!
  • Solids the Second Time Around — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes recounts her experiences introducing solids to her second child.
  • The Adventure of Toddler TastebudsThe Accidental Natural Mama shares a few things that helped her daughter develop an adventurous palate.
  • A Tradition of Love — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy looks forward to sharing the kitchen traditions passed on from her mom and has already found several ways to involve baby in the kitchen.
  • The Very Best Classroom — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw’s Newest Thoughts reveals how her kitchen is more than a place to make food – it’s a classroom!
  • Raising Little Chefs — Chef Mike guest posts on Natural Parents Network about how he went from a guy who couldn’t cook to a chef who wanted to teach his boys to know how the food we love is made.
  • In the Kitchen with my kids — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine shares a delicious soup recipe that her kids love.
  • Papa, the Pancake Artist — Papa’s making an incredible breakfast over at Our Mindful Life.
  • Kids won’t eat salad? Try this one! — Tat at Mum in Search is sharing her children’s favourite salad recipe.
  • Recipe For a Great Relationship — Cooking with kids is about feeding hearts as well as bellies, writes Hannah at Wild Parenting.
  • The Ritual of Mealtimes — Syenna at Gently Parenting Twins writes about the significance of mealtimes in her family’s daily rhythm.
  • Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. — Alburnet at What’s Next? panicks about passing on her food “issues” to her offspring.
  • Growing Up in the Kitchen — Cassie at There’s a Pickle in My Life shares how her son is growing up in the kitchen.
  • Harvesting Corn and History — From Kenna at School Garden Year: The kids in the school garden harvest their corn and learn how much history grows in their food.
  • My Guiding Principles for Teaching my Child about Food — Tree at Mom Grooves uses these guiding principles to give her daughter a love of good food and an understanding of nutrition as well as to empower her to make the best choices for her body.
  • Kitchen Control — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her struggles to relinquish control in the kitchen to her children.
  • Food — Emma at Your Fonder Heart lets her seven month old teach her how to feed a baby.
  • Kitchen Fun? — Adrienne at Mommying My Way questions how much fun she can have in a non-functional kitchen, while trying to remain positive about the blessings of cooking for her family.
  • Kitchen Adventures — Erica at ChildOrganics shares fun ways to connect with your kids in the kitchen.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: Finding the Right Tools — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares some of her favorite child-sized kitchen gadgets and where to find them.
  • The Kitchen Classroom — Laura at Authentic Parenting knows that everything your kids want to learn is at the end of the ladle.
  • Kids in the Kitchen — Luschka from Diary of a First Child talks about the role of the kitchen in family communication and shares fun kitchen activities for the under two.
  • Our Kitchen is an Unschooling Classroom. — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle explores the many ways her kitchen has become a rich environment for learning.
  • Montessori-Inspired Food Preparation for Preschoolers — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares lots of resources for using Montessori food preparation activities for young children in the kitchen.
  • My Little Healthy Eater — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her research on what is the best first food for babies, and includes a healthy and yummy breakfast recipe.
  • Two Boys and Papa in the Kitchen: Recipe for Disaster?MudpieMama shares all about her fears, joys and discoveries when the boys and handsome hubby took over the kitchen.
  • Food choices, Food treats — Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea shares her family’s relationship with food.
  • learning to eat — Catherine at learner mummy reflects on little M’s first adventures with food.
  • The Night My 7-Year-Old Made Dinner — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! shares how her 7-year-old daughter surprised everyone by turning what started as an idea to play restaurant into pulling off making supper for her family.
  • Cooking With a High-Needs Toddler — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how Montessori-inspired activities and a bit of acceptance have helped her overcome hurdles in cooking while caring for a “high-needs” child.
  • Kids in the Kitchen – teaching healthy food choices — Brenna at Almost All The Truth shares her belief in the importance of getting kids into the kitchen using her favorite cookbook for kids to develop healthy food choices now and hopefully into the future.
  • Make Milk, Not War — Tamara at Tea for Three remembers the daily food fights as she struggled to feed a picky eater.
  • teaching baby birds about good food. — Sarah at Small Bird on Fire writes about the ways in which her family chooses to gently teach their son how to make wise food decisions.
  • 5 Ways to Enhance Your Baby or Young Toddler’s Relationship with Food — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares simple ways to give your child a healthy beginning to her lifelong relationship with food.
  • Toddler at the Table: 10 Creative Solutions — Moorea at Mamalady shares tips for preventing meal-time power struggles.
  • How My Child Takes Responsibility During His Mealtime… — Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy shares how she teaches and encourages her 32 months old son on adopting good manners and responsibilities during his mealtimes…
  • megan — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings shares six tips for overcoming some of the the difficulties of cooking with multiple young sous chefs, and a recipe they all can agree on!
  • How BLW has made me a better parent — Zoe at Mummykins shares how baby-led weaning has changed her approach to parenting.
  • My Budding Chef — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom is no cook but is happy that her daughter has shown an inclination and manages to whip up yummy goodies for their family.
  • Kids in the Kitchen: An Activity for Every Age — Gaby from Tmuffin describes how she keeps her kids busy in the kitchen, whether they are one week old or two years old.
  • The Phantastically Mutlipurposed Phyllo — Ana at Pandamoly shares how Phyllo is used to create enticing dishes at home! Anything can be made into a Struedel!
  • Kitchen Kids — Laura from A Pug in the Kitchen shares her children’s most favorite recipe to make, experience and eat.
  • Independence vs. Connection in the Kitchen: won’t you please get yourself your own snack already? — Lisa at Organic Baby Atlanta wishes her daughter would just go make a mess in the kitchen. But her daughter only wants to do it together.
  • Grandma Rose’s Kitchen — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter reminisces about her childhood and dreams of filling her kitchen with people, love, noise, and messes.
  • Healthy Food Choices for Kids — Jorje offers one way to encourage children to make their own healthy food choices at MommaJorje.com.
  • Cooking food to thrive rather than survive — Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales is trying to foster a lifetime of good food habits by teaching her children about the importance of avoiding junk, cooking healthy meals, and learning about the whole food process.
  • Evolution of a self-led eater — Sheila at A Gift Universe shares the story of how her son grew from nursing around the clock to eating everything in sight, without her having to push.
  • 10 Ways Tiny Helps In The Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explores the ways in which her toddler actively participates in kitchen-related activities.
  • The Complexity of Feeding a Child — Feeding children a healthy diet is no straight-forward task, but Lisa at My World Edenwild shares some general guidelines to help your child thrive.
  • Lactation CookiesThat Mama Gretchen shares a fun recipe that will benefit both mamas and babies!
  • The Best Books and Websites to Inspire Kids in the Kitchen — Need inspiration to get your kids in the kitchen? Dionna at Code Name: Mama rounds up some of the best books and websites that can serve as a source for ideas, recipes, and cooking with littles fun.
  • A 4-year-old’s smoothie recipe — Jen at Grow With Graces and her son set out to make a smoothie without the usual ingredients. She let him improvise. See how it turned out.
  • Independent Food Preparation (My Toddler Can Do That?) — Megan at Montessori Moments shares simple ways for children to prepare their own healthy snacks.
  • Follow Your Gut — Amy at Anktangle shares her philosophy about intuitive eating, and how she’s trying to foster her son’s trust in his own inner wisdom when he feels hungry.
  • A TODDLER-STYLE LUNCH + RECIPEManic Mrs. Stone photographs how to have messy fun during lunchtime with a helpful toddler.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

30 Responses to “The Night My 7 Year Old Made Dinner”

  1. #3 Arpita of Up, Down & Natural Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 5:38 am
  2. #5 Raising Little Chefs | Natural Parents Network Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 7:02 am
  3. #6 Kids in the Kitchen | Diary of a First Child Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 7:18 am
  4. #7 Grandma Rose’s Kitchen | Farmer's Daughter Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 7:33 am
  5. #9 Recipe For a Great Relationship « Wild Parenting Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 8:05 am
  6. #10 Lauren @ HoboMama Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 9:41 am
  7. #11 learning to eat » learnermummy.com Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 10:48 am
  8. #12 Catherine Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 11:05 am
  9. #15 A 4-year-old’s smoothie recipe | GROW WITH GRACES Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 11:20 am
  10. #16 Amy Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 11:55 am
  11. #17 Dionna @ Code Name: Mama Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm
  12. #18 Kids in the Kitchen - teaching healthy food choices | Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm
  13. #19 Sarah Says:
    November 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm
  14. #21 Kid, Meet Food. Food, Kid. « What's Next? Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm
  15. #22 Toddler at the Table: 10 Creative Solutions « MamaLady Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm
  16. #23 Kids won’t eat salad? Try this one! | Mum in search Says:

    November 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm
  17. #24 Brenna @ Almost All The Truth Says:

    November 9, 2011 at 2:53 am
  18. #25 Sylvia@MaMammalia Says:

    November 9, 2011 at 4:27 am
  19. #26 Christine @ African Babies Don't Cry Says:
    November 11, 2011 at 10:09 am
  20. #27 Kat @ Loving {Almost} Every Moment Says:

    November 12, 2011 at 5:04 pm
  21. #28 Nic Leyba Says:

    November 14, 2011 at 9:16 pm
  22. #29 Dionna @ Code Name: Mama Says:

    November 30, 2011 at 2:23 pm
  23. #30 Claire Says:

    February 23, 2012 at 9:48 am

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