One thing that has been working for me lately is posting a schedule for who is supposed to help with dinner prep on which day.
Since we have seven children, each with his or her own preferences and interests, it's easy to allow each one to kind of drift into his or her own routines.
I have a couple of children who like to hang out in the kitchen each afternoon just before dinner time and help me chop and stir and saute without my even having to ask. I enjoy their company and appreciate their help, so it's a match made in heaven.
But, I have recently noticed that the children who don't naturally gravitate to the kitchen aren't getting any practice in those dinner preparations, and most importantly, they aren't getting the opportunity to serve others.
They seemed perfectly comfortable sitting around waiting for us worker bees to whip up dinner each day, and that made me perfectly uncomfortable.
So I made a schedule and posted it inside the pantry door.
Each day at 4:30 a different child is scheduled to help with dinner prep, while the others are assigned to tidy their rooms. (This ensures that the dinner helper feels a little extra special that day.)
The designated helper is to assist me in the kitchen as needed (and as age appropriate). They may help by washing and chopping vegetables, measuring and mixing ingredients, buttering pans, or whatever needs doing.
Here the 3 yr. old is helping with homemade pizza.
As we work, the two of us get a chance to chat, uninterrupted, and I make sure to review the basic steps and ingredients of the recipe we are using.
This ensures that each child gets a chance to practice skills involved in cooking and baking, AND that each one gets a chance to serve the family each week.
Works For Me!