Did I argue—uh… no! It’s really cute how she insists on cooking whenever she can, and looks at it like her God-given right to be in the kitchen. Not that I mind.
In addition to having fun in the kitchen, my husband and I have purchased tools for her so that she will have a sense of belonging when it comes to homemaking. We started doing this when she was about 11. At twelve years old she got her own food processor. Even buying small things like her own potato peeler or recipe book has been a way of encouraging her in this field. The same holds true for other areas of the home, like laundry for example. If a young girl has her own shelf in the laundry room it gives her a sense of belonging and a desire to work there.
Because she loves being in the kitchen so much, she will often ask if she can make dinner. If she does, I don’t complain about her choices or meddle in her work. There have been some days where she makes us nachos and bean dip, and we happily accept it as if we were guests in her home. The other night she made broccoli cheese soup for dinner and spinach dip for dessert. Although I don’t think she’s fully grasped the concept, I have to say, that’s my kind of dessert!
A few months ago she offered to make mashed potatoes for supper. That was it—mashed potatoes. I happily accepted her offer, and then when she was busy at her work I went into the kitchen and offered to contribute to her meal. She loved that idea. So I threw some sausages in the oven and warmed up some vegetables.
With this in mind, I’d like to offer five tips for encouraging young homemakers:
- Don’t expect perfection. Young homemakers won’t be perfect, so don’t expect or demand it. Does it really matter if the spaghetti sauce is too thick or if the hem on a skirt is a bit crooked? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so try to see things through her eyes.
- Give them a sense of ownership. Any small things that you can do like giving your daughter her own apron, a set of oven mitts, or a feather duster offers her a sense of ownership. Perhaps you could make a set of matching mother/daughter aprons? I have links to 191 free patterns on my blog!
- Make housekeeping fun. My children fight to help me with dinner. I have purchased extra potato peelers since all of the kids want to help peel potatoes. The older ones like cutting vegetables and the boys love hammering steak or whisking a sauce. Dinner time has always been a fun time of preparation. I’ve always treated making dinner as my responsibility, and they are welcome to help.
- Offer inspiration. My daughter received a sewing machine for Christmas last year and shortly after we went for a tour of my sisters sewing room. Seeing the potential that one sewing machine has to create beauty, inspired Maddy to further pursue the craft. Inspiration comes in all forms. In fact my daughter was also inspired to organize her bedroom when she saw how well Grandma kept her closets in order.
- Teach principles that show them why we should care for the things that we have. God has created all things and everything that we have is a gift from Him. We take care of those things to show our appreciation of His gift. When people come to visit, what do they see? Do they see order and appreciation or a life that lacks moderation and self control? These are just some of the reasons we keep a good home.