Here's one for C.
When the kids were smaller, the kitchen is verboten for them. I usually shoo them away when I am preparing something. But I gradually realized that they tend to linger where I linger most. And I tend to stay longer in the kitchen. Blame that to the neverending parade in and out the kitchen due to -- breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner and bedtime snacks!
But what to do with the kids esp when the oven is on? Let me share my own experience with kids and ovens.
When MC was only two years old, I didnt realize that she turned on the stove. After having lunch, we went up to our attic room and stayed there to play. I kept on smelling something funny but I cant find the source of the smell. After around 30 mins, the smell became so heavy and the air felt warmer. Can you imagine my dismay and shock when I discovered that the stove was on? Good thing electric stoves take time to heat up!
I was so angry but how can you express your anger to a two year old and show her the consequence of her action? She knows that mama was angry. But to stress the point -- I held her hand a bit closer to the hot plate on the stove. Letting her feel how hot it is.
And told her 'you know that you must not touch the dials on oven because it could burn you. And it would be really painful.' She solemly nodded and that was that. From then on she simply circled the oven especially when something is cooking or baking!
The 'hot oven test' was discovered not so gently by my youngest girl -- she was driving her bobby car through the kitchen when she lost her balance and landed near the hot oven. She felt the heat but escaped being scalded. Now she knows better.
Anyway, they know that the oven is dangerous but that the oven cooks and bakes real goodies, too. They simply need to respect it. If they cant do that, then they need to get away from it, as far away as possible.
When I am cooking, I let them play in a corner of the kitchen, away from the oven. They can use the pots and pans, as long as they tidy up after. They can also bring their drawing materials and use the kitchen table. But, I also encourage the kids to join me when I am cooking and baking. With cooking, they help with washing the veggies and fruits, breaking them up with their hands (like greens or beans) or they can put the salad ingredients together (oil, salt, vinegar, greens, etc.). They are sometimes, only sometimes, allowed to stir -- but only when adults are in the kitchen; and only when permission is granted.
Baking is a hit for them. They help with the measuring cups, with bringing the ingredients on the working table, to finding some utensils to use, to wiping spills, etc. What brings them delight is after the mixing's done -- because they do love to lick the rest of the dough! Sometimes they love the dough more than the finished product. Of course, they love to take part in molding the cookies or rolling them in sugar, etc. -- anything to keep their hands busy and dirty!
You better be prepared how the kitchen would look like afterwards, though. You can avoid more work by giving the kids kitchen towels to wipe on or let them wear aprons. And dont let them run around the house unless they agree that they are already bored in the kitchen and wont be coming back to help. This is a priority question to me. And they must keep their promise, no compromises. One last tip -- clean the kids as much as possible before letting them go. Or else you would be following trails of flour, salt and sugar around the house, too.
MC is now five years old. She is now in charge of taking out the tray of baked goodies from the oven. She is careful, though, to use the kitchen gloves. As for my three year old IC, of course, di rin sya patatalo. As she said,'when I am bigger, I can also do that.' See, they learn!