Friday, 14 August 2015

Skip the sippy cup

I have been doing a bit of cleaning out recently (delayed spring cleaning?!). One thing I was pleased to get rid of was the clutter of old baby bottles and beakers/sippy cups at the back of a cupboard. A couple of the cups had never even been used and the couple that had, were only ever used as a regular cup, not with their lids.

With all three of my children, I introduced the Bickiepegs Doidy Cup as soon as I introduced water with weaning/meals. I would begin by holding the cup for them (holding underneath so if and when they wanted to take the handles themselves, they could) and then let them hold it as soon as they wanted to. You can't put a lot of water in it anyway, because of the shape so any spillages were not a big deal.

I don't know about you but finding a cup/beaker that is non-spill for carrying out and about is not as easy as it sounds! I rarely bother taking drinks out with us. I either get a glass of tap water from a cafe or buy a bottle of water that all the children would share. With supervision, my 1-year old drinks from a regular unscrewed water bottle with no problems. When I remember, I will fill up and take out one of our stainless steel water bottles that the children share.

Starting off early with the Bickiepegs Doidy Cup meant that we could then move onto regular cups at home and my youngest handles a regular cup by herself, just needing help setting it back down on the table sometimes.

My advice to those of you with babies: save your money and cupboard space and skip the sippy cup! It also makes life a lot easier when you don't have to think about bringing a certain cup out with you, knowing your child can drink from a regular cup in a restaurant. If your child is the type to make a strong attachment to certain objects, you don't need to worry about them getting upset because you forgot/lost their beloved sippy cup!

What is your experience? Did you move your child onto regular cups quite early on or did you rely on a sippy cup for a while? Did you find a non-spill cup that you and baby both liked?
photo credit

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Cook together this summer!

The lovely Riverford, where our weekly veg box comes from, are running a great campaign at the moment that I felt compelled to share. Quite simply, they want parents and their children to cook together from scratch and have given the added incentive of some prizes on offer for those people who submit a photo or video of their children in action in the kitchen. You can read all the details on their website and the competition runs until the end of August.

Coincidentally, the day I first read about the campaign, was the day our veg box gets delivered. I decided to get stuck in immediately and with no plans for dinner that evening, had my 3-year old and 6-year old unpack some of our veg and started them washing, preparing and chopping. Between them they made a salad and my son topped and tailed an entire bag of green beans that we ate tossed in oil and vinegar with the rest of our meal. Whilst I gave them instructions, I didn't once help them or try to change the way they were doing something. They did it all themselves and were really proud of themselves for it! An added bonus for me, was that they were genuinely a big help and it meant I had less dinner making to do myself - win, win!

My son asked if they could help with dinner the next day. He ended up being too exhausted after his sports camp that day but my three year old daughter helped again and made these cheesy courgette and carrot balls that we ate with pasta that night. At the weekend, they helped make this tart, mostly by podding the broad beans and then podding again once cooked. 

I have always involved the children with baking and the odd thing here and there like podding beans and occasional chopping but now I hope we can keep up the participation with meal preparation a bit more regularly (when moods and time permits).

A few tips when working with young children in the kitchen:

Manage your expectations. There will likely be more mess, things won't necessarily get chopped or prepared the same way you do it but that's ok! 

Make it fun! If possible, have in mind a variety of tasks they can help with to keep their interest up. Nobody likes scrubbing/podding/peeling/chopping the same thing for a really long time so divide up longer tasks and give them something a bit more fun/creative to do after a more boring task.

Involve them in choosing a meal. If your children are old enough, ask them for suggestions of what your family could eat that day. If it is something they have chosen, they are more likely to be enthusiastic about helping prepare it. Alternatively, give them a choice of two meals that you know you have the ingredients and time to make and let them choose which one.

Be brave! Let them use sharp knives, just gently instruct and demonstrate first. You will be surprised that they can probably handle them better than you imagined. I don't think I ever let my son use a sharp knife at age 3 but I let my 3-year old daughter use one and so far, there have been no unpleasant incidents! If she is struggling to cut something, she will just ask her older brother or me to take over. Let them crack eggs, if you get shell in with it or if one drops on the floor, it is not the end of the world. They need to practise these kinds of things to get better at them.

The summer holidays offer the perfect opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen with your children and #cooktogether, so why not give it a go and get involved too? Do you already cook from scratch sometimes with your children? What kinds of tasks do they enjoy most and do you have any additional tips to add to my list?

This is not a sponsored post, I just really like Riverford's idea and wanted to spread the word!
You Baby Me Mummy