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Old 03-16-2007, 01:12 PM   #1
b0000urns
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Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

I do my best to give my son good food, which to me means I usually cook something rather than just opening a package. The problem is that I don't know what to do with him while I'm cooking. I can sometimes get away with slowly prepping everything coming and going from the kitchen, but once I turn on a burner I don't know what to do. I want to keep on eye on him so he doesn't hurt himself or destroy the house, but I don't want him pulling on my pants while grease is splattering just above, and don't want to burn the food. If I could slow cook everything that would be great, but there usually isn't time for that. If I walk away from a pan on medium to high heat for very long, whatever is inside will burn. He's very active and not very patient once he sees food. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Old 03-16-2007, 01:14 PM   #2
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

My DD likes to "help" so I let her stand on a chair far enough away from the stove that she can see it w/o touching it and if I am stirring, I give her a plastic spoon and bowl so she can stir too and feel involved. . .
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Old 03-16-2007, 01:19 PM   #3
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

I let my son play with a pot and a wooden spoon on the floor. It's loud and usually pretty obnoxious, but I can see him and he has a blast! Then I just throw the pan and spoon in the dishwasher with the rest of the dinner dishes.....piece of cake! If your table is in eyesight you could also try sitting him down with some edible playdough or non-toxic fingerpaints. I don't mind messes if my kids are happy and as long as it is one that is easy to clean. I put one of those mats that are supposed to go under the highchair over the table to protect it and just let him paint away. Then I hose it off in the shower or outside (now that it is nice enough).
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Old 03-16-2007, 01:37 PM   #4
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

paul has a play kitchen in our kitchen and i try to encourage him to play there.
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Old 03-16-2007, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

When my DD was little I let her sit in her high chair and "help" me cook. I'd give her a few of the ingredients I was using in a bowl with a spoon and let her stir, mix, squish, pour, whatever. She liked to copy whatever I was doing.

If she had been a more active child, I would have designated a lower cabinet or drawer as a kid-safe one with big spoons and Rubbermaid containers and let her empty it and make a mess with it to her heart's content. Fortunately she was happy with the high chair time. We'll see how DS feels about that as he gets older.
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Old 03-16-2007, 06:30 PM   #6
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

my DD loves the flour sifter! makes a cool noise!
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Old 03-16-2007, 07:51 PM   #7
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

I have this same problem with my 18 month old. The problem is that she isn't content to just empty one drawer--she empties EVERYTHING she can open. Since we are renting until our house comes through (next month!) we can't put locks on the cabinets. She would never agree to sit in her chair while I cook either. She can get out twice as many dishes as fit in our dishwasher in the time it takes me to make a salad. The other day she opened the drawers next to the stove, climbed into a drawer and tried to touch the stovetop. Luckily I was right there! I don't have answers for you, just sympathy!
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Old 03-16-2007, 08:33 PM   #8
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

I let my ds color or play with playdough in his high chair while I cook. He seems content if not I will give him some cheerios or applesauce to eat in his chair. However he is a good eater and will still eat his dinner.
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:10 PM   #9
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

My DD usually goes on my back in a Mei Tai when I have to prepair foods/cooking that takes awhile to do. She is happy due to she is being "held" and I am happy because she is not screaming at me. She is perfectly safe and I don't have to worry about dropping anything on her. While I am doing veggies, I usually will give her a slice or like a green bean that has been washed but before it is cooked so she can chew on it. HTH
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Old 03-16-2007, 09:22 PM   #10
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Re: Cooking with a 1.5 year-old

I used to take and during his nap time I would prep the food, chop everything, get meat browned etc...that way when it came time to actually make dinner everything was prepped and ready to be thrown into the pan. Very few items I made required that I was right at the stove the whole time...I could walk away and color with him or whatever. Once he got a little bit older, I would serve him an appetizer...I would have some steamed veggies like green beans and carrots or corn and have him munch on those in his chair while I cooked....that way he was more apt to eat the veggies than if I were to put them on the plate with another alternative.
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