By Sarah Honey, WorkitMom.com Contributor
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Are you tired of hearing, “Mommy, can you get me a drink; Mommy, I’m hungry, can I have a snack?” Well, I’m here to tell you that if you get organized, you’ll still hear that on occasion, but probably much less often! Kids love to feel independent and helpful. So get organized, get rid of those unhealthy snacks and replace them with some healthy ones, and give your kids the opportunity to choose healthy and pre-portioned snacks from the kitchen on their own.
When my son (we’ll call him “Little Dude”) was a baby, I never childproofed my kitchen! I know this sounds insane. My friends all thought I was crazy. I never ever put a lock on a cabinet door, drawer, or pantry. Crazy, I know. He was always supervised in the kitchen and would never go into them. The only cabinets and drawers Little Dude went into were the ones that I gave him. I put all his plastic cups, plates, and bowls in his cabinet and his cutlery in his drawer. I put books and other small toys in there, too. Little Dude just loves having his own cabinet and his own space. Honestly, by giving Little Dude his own cabinet, he only goes there to look for things, but he never going to the ‘adult’ cabinets since he knows they don’t have the things he wants. He plays with all of his dishes and cups and stacks them, bangs on them, and plays with them like they’re toys. This also keeps him busy so I can prepare a meal or put away groceries.
In our refrigerator, Little Dude has the bottom shelf. I keep healthy snacks (fresh fruit and veggies, plus snack-pack size apple sauce, peaches, pears, pineapple, yogurt, and hummus). I like to keep them low so he sees them and will always grab a healthy snack first.
I also have two snack baskets. One is in easy reach and holds healthy snacks, so he can grab raisins, trail mix, dried fruit, banana chips, and granola bars. The other snack basket holds all the crackers, chips, and sweet snacks. I keep this second basket up higher so Little Dude has to ask for it, giving me the opportunity to encourage him to choose a healthier option.
Using these organizational tricks, I’m keeping Little Dude in the kitchen and giving him his space, because I want him to always be a part of meals, helping with meal planning, setting his place at the table, and of course, enjoying his meal at the table with his family. Organizing the kitchen to give Little Dude his own cabinet makes things easy for me and also makes him feel independent and awesome. He can get his own healthy drinks or snacks, and he is so proud of himself when he does it.