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Old 04-04-2012, 10:45 AM   #11
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

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Well, he outgrew playing in the cabinets months ago, so that doesn't work for us anymore. he has had access to those cabinets for ever, and for a while playing in the cabinets worked pretty well, but honestly he is not into that sort of thing so much now. He's into cars and airplanes and climbing and water and all those sorts of active things. Ocassionally he'll play with his play kitchen while I'm cooking & will bring me "food" to "eat".

I like the playdoh suggestion. Sometimes that sort of thing just ends up being more work for me, though. By that I mean, imagine this (common in my home) scenario:

Explain activity. Put DS in highchair (no momma! no chair! NO chair!), calm DS down. Strap highchair (Momma! Outside! NO eat! No Chair! Outside! I like CLIMB! Daddy!). Hand DS playdoh. Walk to cabinet to get out dinner fixings. Turn around to find DS eating playdoh (We don't eat playdoh, we squish it.... "Momma! Momma squish! Momma SIT! Momma playdoh!".... Mommy is cooking right now.... "ME cook! ME CLIMB! ME Water! OUtside!") Begin cooking. (Me Dirty Diaper! All done! ALL DONE! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH)

Meanwhile, in the grand total of 10 minutes that have lapsed, I've had to break open a beer because my blood pressure is through the roof, there's playdoh on the chair, the table, the floor, and the kid; the dogs are eating the playdoh, the stove is boiling over, wait....is that something burning?? Then...of course...DS sticks his hand down his pants, out come "poopy hands" (momma! POOOOOP!! Me POOP! )

At which point I'm pretty tempted to order pizza.
Uggh.... I think I would be having a heart to heart with DH about whether he wants to truly supervise or cook the meal.

The other thing I have had success with is offering appetizers to my child in the high chair while I cook- usually veggies. It sounds like eating is not appealing enough to yours though to do that. I really liked the Learning Tower when we were at the climbing on everything stage. DD was willing to climb in there and not so much on the chairs and table which was what she previously wanted to do.

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Old 04-04-2012, 10:48 AM   #12
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

My dd is 9 months old so I have the pack of cabinet locks still sitting on the counter for DH to put in. I normally put her in her high chair and give her a snack as a cook or something to play with. On occasion I give her a plastic spoon and an empty plastic coffee container to bang on. (She doesn't really bang them thought).

With my son was little, I use to let him play on the floor as long as I was not baking. I baby gated him in the kitchen. Sometimes I would give him a task to "help me cook". I'd have him do something silly like empty a premeasured item into a bowl or sometimes "help" by putting the croutons/veggies pretty on he salad (he might eat a few as he worked). He liked to be a helper and as long as his hands were washed, I'd give him a task. Most were just busy work. You have to get creative. Like fold napkins in half and put them at everyones spot at the table. I'd play music very softly as I cooked when he was little as that helped him to want to stay in the kitchen. (He liked music but if he left the kitchen he wouldn't be able to hear it!).
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:37 AM   #13
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

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Originally Posted by dancermommy1 View Post
Well, he outgrew playing in the cabinets months ago, so that doesn't work for us anymore. he has had access to those cabinets for ever, and for a while playing in the cabinets worked pretty well, but honestly he is not into that sort of thing so much now. He's into cars and airplanes and climbing and water and all those sorts of active things. Ocassionally he'll play with his play kitchen while I'm cooking & will bring me "food" to "eat".

I like the playdoh suggestion. Sometimes that sort of thing just ends up being more work for me, though. By that I mean, imagine this (common in my home) scenario:

Explain activity. Put DS in highchair (no momma! no chair! NO chair!), calm DS down. Strap highchair (Momma! Outside! NO eat! No Chair! Outside! I like CLIMB! Daddy!). Hand DS playdoh. Walk to cabinet to get out dinner fixings. Turn around to find DS eating playdoh (We don't eat playdoh, we squish it.... "Momma! Momma squish! Momma SIT! Momma playdoh!".... Mommy is cooking right now.... "ME cook! ME CLIMB! ME Water! OUtside!") Begin cooking. (Me Dirty Diaper! All done! ALL DONE! WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH)

Meanwhile, in the grand total of 10 minutes that have lapsed, I've had to break open a beer because my blood pressure is through the roof, there's playdoh on the chair, the table, the floor, and the kid; the dogs are eating the playdoh, the stove is boiling over, wait....is that something burning?? Then...of course...DS sticks his hand down his pants, out come "poopy hands" (momma! POOOOOP!! Me POOP! )

At which point I'm pretty tempted to order pizza.
How about putting down a towel on the kitchen floor, putting down a tub of water with water toys? Of course it won't work everyday, but it might help. Dry beans and rice (if he won't try to eat them) in a metal bowl or pan for him just to play with. You'll have to clean up after but I think cleaning after is less stressful then trying to do a million things at once. Car track carpet on the kitchen floor so he can play with cars and airplanes while you cook? My kids crash tonka trucks into the cabinets and I push them back with my foot.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:41 AM   #14
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

Johnny Jumper in the kitchen door? My DS is 6-7 months older than yours, and still loves jumping and having a snack in the tray.

We don't eat supper until 7:00-8:00, so I take the kids to the park or to play in the yard, and DH makes supper.
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:50 AM   #15
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

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How about putting down a towel on the kitchen floor, putting down a tub of water with water toys? Of course it won't work everyday, but it might help. Dry beans and rice (if he won't try to eat them) in a metal bowl or pan for him just to play with. You'll have to clean up after but I think cleaning after is less stressful then trying to do a million things at once. Car track carpet on the kitchen floor so he can play with cars and airplanes while you cook? My kids crash tonka trucks into the cabinets and I push them back with my foot.
You are a genius for the car carpet idea. I may just give this a try.

Can't do the water tub cause we have hardwoods in the kitchen, if it were tile I'd be all over that idea. He would definitely eat the dry beans.

DS is a great kid with a great and really fun-loving upbeat personality--he just really likes to be active! I will say that in emergency cases, the IPad can sometimes keep him busy long enough for me to get something at least going in the oven.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:35 PM   #16
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

No question, making dinner is one of the most challenging things to do when you have toddlers! I keep the play kitchen set in the kitchen and that is the only time they may play with it (with exceptions of course ). I also used to keep a bin of nursing time toys (for the older one while the baby is nursing). That idea could work as the dinner time tub. Things they could only get during that time.

As a family we have also gone through times when if dinner could not be prepared earlier in the day then there were no exceptions....either Dad had to keep little ones entertained or he had better brought dinner home in to go containers. Because there are times when that is just a necessity!!! Our second daughter just absolutedly melted down at 6pm if dinner wasn't on the table in front of her! She just couldn't even function. So for about 6 months when when she was about 18 months this bringing home dinner thing was not a joke!
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:20 PM   #17
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

I have tried to babyproof everything downstairs in the house (I don't have a baby gate on the stairs either, but I can hear when DD (22 months) is going up them, and she knows she isn't supposed to, so she doesn't do it often) so she can't get into too much trouble. Whenever she's quiet for a little, though, I go and check on her, which does slow down dinner prep, but such is life.

DD LOVES to pretend to cook, so I let her play with some things in the cabinets (she can get into some of them herself) while wearing her apron "just like mommy," or I'll fill her grocery cart toy with cans and let her "go shopping." She definitely loves to hang out around me in the kitchen while I cook, so I try to accommodate that, but there certainly are days where I so wish DH would be home already or that she'd go find something else to do!

When DH works in the kitchen, he lets DD sit or stand on the counters next to him, watching him cook. And he'll let her stir and stuff. DD adores doing that, but my meals are too complicated and time is too short for me to let her do that every day and have the time/attention required to make sure she doesn't fall or burn herself or something.
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Old 04-04-2012, 01:21 PM   #18
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

I have an 18 month old and I have several cabinets that she can ransack to her heart's delight. She's not quite as interested in them as she was previously, but I still have to clean up bowls and such every day. Yesterday I built her a drum set with the pots for her to bang on.

I have a 2 step stool that I pull out and let her climb up and down and up and down. It's a bit of work for me since she gets all the way up and won't climb down, so I have to keep getting her and putting her on the floor (she wants down, but won't do it herself). but I don't mind unless I'm cutting meat or something that would require me to wash my hands every time.

I sing all the songs she loves and she does the motions for them (itsy bitsy, 3 little monkeys, Old MacDonald, etc).

Pull out the water beads in a bowl. Kitchen floor is just fine for getting water on. It's just a little bit of water with the beads.

Pull out the dry beans for her to play in

Sit her on the counter and just chat (until she starts to stand, then she goes back down)

Ask her animal sounds

I have also been known to find a lull in the cooking process and sit on the kitchen floor reading books to her until I need to stir something.

Ideally, dad is home, but that rarely happens.

Can't you put the water table in front of a window so you can keep an eye on him?
We have a water table, but when she's outside, she's not interested in water. But I can put her stool under the bathroom sink and let her play in the sink water for awhile to buy myself some time as well.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:00 PM   #19
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

I think that was the age when DS would start cooking with me. Even if I didn't have anything that I could let him do (i.e. I don't let him touch raw meat or anything hot), I would just put some flour in a big bowl and grab a few spices, and have him shake the spices and mix it up.

I would honestly go with whatever you think can captivate your kid for whatever time you need, and then just keep checking in whenever you can to give them that attention they crave.
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:08 PM   #20
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Re: What do you do with your kids when you are cooking?

I put kiddo in a high chair or in a booster with straps at the table and give kiddo playdough, cheese or some other healthy food to stay busy while I cook.

Or...we still have the Super Yard up. Kiddos go in it with a movie on if they are crabby. Safety over crappy parenting, some would call it. I'd rather them be in the SuperYard away from boiling water and watching TV. A friend's son pulled a pan of hot oil on his face and it was awful. I live in fear of it happening here.
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