My position on letting the kids help with dinner is this: No.
For me it’s one of those things that fall under the Sounds-Fun-But-Actually-Sucks category of kids activities. (Others on the list: parades, ice skating, any kind of music class that mom has to be present at.) That does not mean I’m categorically against my kids cooking with me. In fact, I love doing it, as long as I have psychologically earmarked it as a “project” as opposed to an actual meal-generating endeavor. For me, when the dinner countdown is on, I start twitching if I have to slow down to help my daughter “help.” Anyway, I’m not a complete tyrant. I have written before about my Babysitter in a Box, a carefully curated container of kitchen gear and foods (think rice maracas made out of tupperware bowls) that keep them busy making a pretend meal while I tend to the real meal. And now I’m on to the OK Shelf, which is an easy-to-access shelf (the middle one in the photo above) containing a bunch of kitchen-related bowls and pourers that my daughters don’t have to ask me to use. (The answer will always be “OK.”) Every item on the OK shelf is either non-breakable or so cheap (hello Ikea tea set!) that it matters little if they chip it.