One mum asks when should kids be capable of getting themselves a drink and a snack without assistance.

Sharing on MoM she posted, “My son is 6 and still requests all his meals, beverages and snacks.

“He is reminded that he is able to do most of these tasks without 100% of my help but I’m not sure if I’m expecting too much?

“Is making his own breakfast, i.e. toast or Milo, appropriate?

“What age did you stop being a full time chef in the kitchen and allow your children more freedom and responsibility for their own meals?

“I still make food for his younger siblings, so I also don’t want him to feel like I’m being unfair either by making him think of what he wants to eat and helping get it together.”

Mums share their experiences

Teaching kids how to be independent and contributing at home is a big part of Steve Biddulph’s book, ‘Raising Boys’. Steve is a big believer that teaching them how to cook serves them well for life and offers a great opportunity for you to connect with your child and pass on your skills.

Steve strongly believes that kids should be cooking a family meal by the time they are nine years old.

But not everyone agrees with that idea.

Billie agreed saying, “At 6 my kids could make a sandwich, make drinks and simple snacks. They helped with dinner prep and baking. They could make a cup of tea…supervised for boiling water. They also made snacks and sometimes lunch for younger siblings.”

Maree said, “My eldest son started making flavoured milk and cereal at the age of 4 and by the time he was 5 he was making his own tea unassisted.”

Jen shared, “My 7&8 yr olds can make their own breakfast – cereal or toast. They make sandwiches. My 12&14 yr olds can do basic meals”

Stacey said, ” My 10 year old helps to cook dinner with us, and if we aren’t home from work by 5.30, he knows how to turn the oven on and pop something in for us all. He makes himself noodles, toasties or soup after school and helps his 5 year old brother make his toast etc. the sooner you get them in the kitchen the better it is for them.”

However Dianna disagreed saying, “I have 3 kids – almost 11,7 and 4, I prepare all their meals including school lunches. They help in preparing their meals but I would never expect them to do it all until they’re older.”

Barbara also agreed with Dianna saying, “I loved doing it. Still did till they left home. They are young for such a short time. If they want to, sure. But if they don’t, it shouldn’t be forced. It will then be a chore.”

Molly shared, ” If you are doing meals for his siblings I don’t see the harm in making them for your older child. My mum was still making my lunch and dinner in high school and always cooked dinner until I moved out.”

Meanwhile one mum joked, “Shit……. my ex-husband was 38 before he could do any of these.”

Do your kids get their own snacks etc? Share your comments below

  • i have toddlers – i can’t wait for them to begin getting their own food! i say encourage it as early as you can!


  • It’s all about teaching the behaviour. Getting them involved as a toddler is a great start!


  • It is hard to let go and allow them to make a mess in the kitchen but good for their confidence and independence. I guess the child will show an interest and then you know. However supervision is key.


  • You have to be careful with knives and hot things, but they can do simple things like make a sandwich from an early age.


  • My 7 year old grandson likes to cook albeit simple meals however children today are very confident. I think 6 is an age where you can start teaching them.


  • My kids always wanted to help in the kitchen and they could cook something for themselves by the time they were 9 and scouting and guides encouraged them to get a badge by cooking a meal for the family at around that age. It certainly helps them once they leave home – one more thing not to have to do from scratch.


  • I always get my daughter to help out as its a great way to teach kitchen safety and meal prep skills. Plus she takes pride in the meal and eats it. She has been helping me since she could stand on the stool next to me and when my son is older I will get him to help as well


  • My son is 3 and has always been interested in food and making it, so I always bring him in to the kitchen to help me. Whether it’s helping cut the veggies for dinner or mixing the batter for a cake, I think that if they are interested and wanting to learn to let them.


  • Learning to prepare food and to cook are important life skills and learning to prepare snacks and meals is also fun. Of course the skill level and responsibility level goes according to the appropriate age.


  • Yes if they don’t have to cook them up. They seem to rely on my cooking still.


  • My oldest is not yet 2 so he doesn’t cook but he likes to help in the kitchen. I think encouraging helping and cooking activities is great but also doesn’t need to be rushed each child is different and does different things at different ages. Just offer opportunities while he’s still little and progress as he grows.


  • Nothing wrong with teaching your kids these life skills from a young age as long as they’re safe. Some kids will love kitchen activities, some don’t.
    When I was young I was the baker in the family, I cooked dinner, always made the breakfast table and prepared the lunches for all my siblings. I liked it, my siblings didn’t.
    With my own family now, my 9yr old has RAD and kleptomania and the cupboards are locked, which is limiting for all of the members of our family.


  • I would feel more comfortable with the basics and nothing with hot water or open flames


  • If you are in a house that all the taps are fairly high and the benches are wide 6 y.o. child may not be able to reach the tap without standing on a step, which depending on the floor surface may not be safe. If snacks are low enough where they are stored they should be able to get them. You may prefer them to ask first rather then just take one otherwise some kids tend to snack and not eat their meals. A 6 y.o. should be able to make toast provided the power points aren’t too high (ours were) and get the milk out of the fridge for cereal. Ours are allowed to use the microware to heat it. They are allowed to help prepare food to go in the oven but are not allowed to use it themselves. They don’t watch out for our toddler who is still learning not to touch some things.


  • My kids 6 and 8 get their own breakfast most mornings, I do cooked breakfasts on weekends, they always like helping prep meals, I want my kids to know how to cook for themselves when they are older.


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