Every parenting manual has a list. Based on the age of your child, this is what is safe and manageable for them to help you with.
Pair up some socks. "Helpfully" point out the gag-worthy stuff in the toilet. Clean up your toys, puzzles, tiny toys, even tinier toys, jewelry, hair equipment and adornments, purses, Happy Meal toys and pants strewn down hallways and dangling off chandeliers. AWESOME. You can stay living here a little while longer.
But the kitchen "helping?" NOPE.
Until we are a fully in-sync symphonic team in the kitchen, laughing gaily as we flip spatulas over to each other and take turns stirring, sauteing and kicking drawers closed with our feet, get the F-CK out of my way. I am not agile or fun-loving when I cook. I get in, plate it, jam it down, scrub the plates clean with furious dish-chipping fervour and get the f-ck out. On weekends I'll get the occasional HEY YOU SHOULD TOTALLY MAKE MUFFINS RIGHT NOW urge and I sometimes listen to that voice, but the key here is the kid is nowhere to be found. When she is with Grandma, I can measure out things for hours without curious paws wanting to "help."
If I was home with her every day I promise I would sit and watch calmly while she crudely f-cked up cracking eggs into a bowl, all loving and Goop-ish. But score another negative one for the working Mom who just doesn't have the patience. I would also be way more stoked about my budding Julia Child if this interest was suddenly opening up her foodie world and inspiring her to branch out past toast-with-butter for dinner.
But it's not. And that's because I blame this sudden kitchen interest on YouTube videos from the Betty Crocker Test Kitchen. There is not a single vegetable or protein to be found there. The recipes are straight abominations. There is no "cooking." There are women with severe 1984 gym teacher haircuts concocting the new steez for kids, which is kinda like the old steez; like an updated jello mold filled with mandarin wedges. They're taking an ice cream cone and filling it with two cupcakes and then slapping on a bucket of neon pink icing to make an "ice cream cone." Oh, but it's not done. First sprinkle on a 7-11's worth of penny candy! Then eat it and create a new dance move called SUGAR SPIKE DRUM CIRCLE! THAT terrible sugary propaganda is what has made her interested in helping me in the kitchen. Once again letting YouTube raise her has bit me in the ass.
So, I let her help stir. Sometimes. Look at that face. That pride. Ugh, fostering this interest DOES help her development. I know that. Her independent streak, more of a sh-t streak that runs wide and long and true, should be championed. Damnit.