Heather wrote up a fantastic post on her blog, Oh My Stinkin Heck, about encouraging kids to help in the kitchen by making it more accessible to them. Really, the topic is much bigger than that — it's about honoring your children by teaching them to pitch in…that they naturally want to help and you do them a disservice by not showing them how.
Reminds me of a great series by Lara Gallagher at GNP Parents called "Teach Your Kids to Work" (here's a link to Part I). I admit I often take the easy path of shooing them out when it's time to get things done around the house, not so much because it's easier, but because I need a few moments of relative silence. These posts remind me that I'm throwing away a crucial opportunity to teach them skills AND to invest in my future ability to relax while THEY do some of the work.
As my Dad always says about the hard stuff in parenting and in life: "Pay me now or pay me later."