Despite the fact (or maybe because of the fact?) that Henry has been involved in the kitchen from a very young age, he doesn't enjoy helping in the kitchen. Sure, he'll jump on the bandwagon if we're making something like brownies, but he really doesn't want to be involved in the day-to-day: dishes, setting the table, helping with dinner, etc.
However, I want him to contribute to our household and our family as much as possible. I want him to understand that each person has a role to play in helping our household run.
I returned to the handbook from a private Montessori school for guidance. Here's what it says about how to involve children with preparing lunches over the years:
2 years = Talk with your child about preparing their lunch while the child watches. It will make more sense to your child if you prepare it slowly and methodically.
3-4 years = Your child can help by handing things to you or getting things for you, such as a towel, cutting board, etc. Your child should stay with you until the task is complete.
4 years = Show your child slowly and carefully how to prepare one part of the lunch.
4+ years = Now your child can prepare the part of the lunch that they were shown. This continues for about three weeks.
4.5 years = Now show your child how to prepare a second part of the lunch.
5-6 years = You and your child work together to prepare the lunch.
6-7 years = Your child can now prepare the fruits and the vegetables while you prepare the sandwich.
7-8 years = Your child watches how to make the sandwich and how to clean up afterwards. They take on this task, while you switch to the fruit and the vegetable. You prepare lunch together.
8-9 years = Your child can now prepare their entire lunch while you are nearby for supervision.
9-10 years = Your child continues to prepare the entire lunch while you are doing another task in close proximity for company and acknowledgement.
I read the handbook in front of Henry, so now he is invested in preparing the fruit and the vegetables. We do things like snap peas, cucumbers (he can peel and cut them), dried raspberries, red bell pepper, etc. It's been working well!