5 Ideas & Hacks to Control a Messy Kitchen: Cooking with Kids

I love bringing my kids in the kitchen with me to cook.  But, YES, it can get messy!  Especially when making things like homemade pasta, breads and cookies.

Here are some tips on how I manage the kitchen mess and make clean-up time quicker.

Kids Coooking

​These messy times in the kitchen are also some of our families’ favorite time in the kitchen.

It’s time to bond, talk, spend time together, achieve something together, learn from each other and it helps us eat healthier and make better food choices.

“But the kitchen mess!” I hear this response so many times when talking to ‘mom friends’.  It’s too messy, they spill things, and it’s more cleaning and will take more time.

Today, I am sharing 4 tips to help manage a kitchen filled with little ones. 

​1st TIP

Bring everyone in the kitchen together all at once.  Designate an area in the kitchen where the kids can stand or sit side by side and work together.

Re-think your kitchen counters, often times for us it’s our kitchenette table.  The mess is contained to that one area and each child has a seat around the table (which is also safer). 
Bringing everyone to one table means one mess, plus it allows everyone in the family to work together.

Even I will set-up my workspace at the kitenette table so that counters stay clean.  The counter will often just be a ‘staging area’ to keep supplies handy.

2nd TIP

Divide responsibilities and take turns. 

Give everyone their own job and if needed rotate around the table taking turns.  
Contain each job to one area and give your child a kitchen towel for cleanup as they work.  Teach them to maintain a clear and clean work area.  These are good manners to learn for cooking and working.​

​3rd TIP

Make sure your kids understand part of cooking is the responsibility of cleaning up.  Just like when playing a board game or friends.  Divide the clean-up responsibilities to even the youngest child.

For example:
My 3 year old clears plates and cutting boards to the kitchen sink.  Takes dirty kitchen towels to the laundry room. She can also help wipe down seats or help the older kids with some of their responsibilities.
My 5 year old sweeps, vacuums or mops, taking care of the floors. 
My oldest will wipe the table and help with the dishes.
There’s no leaving the kitchen until all work areas and floors are cleaned-up.  

If they cook with you, they clean with you!

4th  TIP

Have fun and really do enjoy the time you spend together.  Don’t focus on the mess and the clean-up.  Even if you cook without the kids, chances are you will have a clean-up job too! 

Enjoy the time together and everything else will seem like a breeze. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the kitchen is cleaned-up!

No more excuses now!  Happy cooking!

Please share your stories of how you manage your kitchen messes with your little ones! Lots more tips welcomed!

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