My kids are spoiled. If they are hungry, they usually call out for me to help them. That’s all going to change this summer. This is the summer of independence!
When I was 10 years old, I knew how to make scrambled eggs. I’m selling myself short: I also knew how to make a bowl of cereal and heat up a frozen meal in the microwave. In any case if I was hungry, I could feed myself. With a 9 & 11 year old in the house, it’s time to regain my own freedom and teach them valuable lifelong lessons. Let the fun begin!
Safety Tips for Cooking with Children
Cooking skills are an important life lesson to pass on to your kids. Cooking allows kids to participate in the care of family and friends in a meaningful way. It is also a good platform for teaching nutrition and allows kids to express their creativity. Not to mention, they won’t be so dependent upon you for everything for the rest of their lives.
Before allowing children freedom in the kitchen, they must first learn the rules of personal safety and food safety.
Cleanliness is one of the most important rules for food safety. Teach children to keep their hands and work area clean when working with food. Remove all non-food items like toys, books and papers, or other clutter from the area and clean the work surface before bringing out any food. Discuss keeping foods at safe temperatures and avoiding cross contamination. Even young cooks can understand the need for food safety.
Teach Age-Appropriate Skills
Bring the kids into the kitchen when they are young and cooking will come naturally to them as they grow up. The youngest helpers can measure, mix and pour. Encourage them to clean up messes as they go to develop good work habits. Young children can use plastic knives for cutting soft foods. As they get older, teach them to respect sharp tools and to use them properly.
Caution Near the Heat
Hot liquids and tools can cause serious burns in the blink of an eye. Monitor kids closely when using the stove or oven. Make sure pot handles are turned inward so that they aren’t easily knocked off the stove. Don’t allow kids to lift pots full of hot liquid. A slight wobble is all it takes to spill hot liquids and cause serious burns. Watch kids closely in the kitchen, gradually increasing their responsibility as they are ready.
Follow the Recipe
Teach kids to read recipes and plan their cooking before beginning. Reading a recipe, gathering needed equipment and ingredients, and anticipating potential problems are valuable skills. Help your child learn to analyze the recipe and the tasks required to complete it. This will improve his cooking skills as well as his reading and critical thinking skills.
Kitchen Organization is important to kitchen safety. Make sure kids know where the fire extinguisher is located and how to use it. Keep all paper, cloth and other flammable materials away from the stove. Teach children to respect sharp knives and keep them secured until they are needed.
Teach kids the importance of dressing appropriately in the kitchen. Flowing sleeves that fall into food or onto a hot burner are a safety hazard. A child-sized apron protects clothing and keeps it out of the way during cooking. Teach kids to keep their hair pulled back during cooking. No one likes hair in their food and longer hair can catch fire if allowed to flow freely over the hot stove.
Cooking with kids is a fun family activity that teaches valuable skills. Have kids follow these safety rules when cooking and assign them tasks appropriate for their ages. While it may be messy and time-consuming to invite kids into the kitchen to cook with you, you are spending valuable time with them while teaching important life skills. Start when they are young and they will be accomplished cooks when older.
Do you cook with your kiddos? Are there any skills that you would add to this list?