The thought of baking with your toddler might bring you out in a cold sweat – the mess, the hazards, the potential for tantrums and the inevitable clean-up. But honestly, don’t let all that put you off. I’ve written before about the wonderful benefits baking with your toddler brings, and I’m not going to lie to you, it will get messy, but it is truly worth it, I promise!
Rosalie and I do loads of baking together and I’ve learnt some really useful coping mechanisms, with the most important one being: don’t bother cleaning up until the end! Ignore the mess as you go along and you’ll both have a much more enjoyable time together.
If you’re keen to start baking with your toddler but aren’t really sure how, then here are some simple steps to follow, from one toddler mum to another:
Choose a simple recipe
Start with a simple recipe that either you know really well or have at least cooked before. Limiting the amount of time you have to spend reading the recipe is the aim here, to reduce the likelihood of your toddler getting bored.
Gather all the ingredients & equipment
Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment you need to hand. Weigh all the ingredients out beforehand into small bowls – toddlers love tipping and pouring! Having everything prepared and your equipment set out also limits boredom as you hunt for the sieve, or correct size baking tin.
Give yourself plenty of time, you can’t rush baking with a toddler. If your recipe has an estimated preparation time, or you know how long it takes you to prepare it, then double it! Toddlers want to explore the new textures and smells, so give them the time to do that.
Teach your toddler to always wash their hands before preparing food. You won’t be able to stop them trying the ingredients and putting their hands in their mouth as you go along, but setting them up with clean hands to start with is an important food hygiene lesson.
Get your toddler an apron and roll their sleeves up, then find something for them to stand on to reach the table or counter. We do most of our baking at the counter and Rosalie stands on a dining chair – I like the fact it has a back, it feels a bit safer than a step-stool.
See the benefits not the mess
See the benefits of exploration rather than the cloud of flour and messy floor! I did find it difficult, when I first started baking with Rosalie, not to sigh when she spilled ingredients all over the counter and floor, but over time she’s become better at scooping and I’ve learnt to be more chilled out as I know the benefits far outweigh the mess.
This might be difficult, but try not to wince every time ingredients are dropped or eaten, or utensils land on the floor. Relax and enjoy yourselves, and think about all the learning your toddler is doing.