Most of us have a preference for where things go in the kitchen. We organize shelves, fill cabinets, and stock the fridge in an order that makes sense to us, or to whomever the cook in the house is.
But what about our little children? What makes sense for them?
I gave this a lot of thought while I was pregnant with our third. I knew there would be times that my 4 and 2 year olds would be begging for a snack in the middle of a feeding or diaper change.
So, to get us as prepared as possible, I re-organized the spaces that they needed.
I moved all of their snacks to the bottom of the pantry, and put a stack of paper bowls on the bottom shelf. I then put a sleeve of small paper cups near a water cooler in our kitchen. (Note – we already had a water cooler. If you do not have one, a step stool by the kitchen sink and a stack of paper cups near the faucet work as well).
My new rule was that our 4-year-old daughter could fill a snack bowl and a cup of water for her and her brother IF she asked first, and IF I was in a nearby room where I could still see them.
Because I was allowing her a new responsibility that she was excited about, she was eager to follow the rules, rise to the occasion, and take care of her little brother while I tended to the baby.
And our 2-year-old was thrilled to have his older sister, who he completely adores, doting on him. Together they relied on/helped each other, and I watched their bond grow even deeper.
I have always been very strict about the kids only ever eating in front of me. I have heard too many stories of children choking, and I think my paranoia has slightly scared my children into always following this rule.
So, with that said, if your child is one to sneak snacks – these tips are not for you.
I’m learning that watching our children grow and take on more responsibility can be fun and exciting! Often times they surprise us by taking pride and executing.
I like allowing them to take charge in my controlled setting. They enjoy proving that they can handle it, and are excited to be my big girl/boy.
While I’m sure the pre-teen years will bring different experiences for new-found freedoms, and different ways of organizing, for now this is what works for us and our little ones.