Cooking is one of those life skills that you can’t live without. When I was little, it was offered in elementary school and a subject that many of the girls love to partake in. Sadly, the education system we live in now has removed those classes from the school system, leaving the task of teaching kids to cook up to their parents. Both my husband and I grew up in a family where we were taught to cook. Under parental supervision we cooked family meals as well as individual ones. I preferred baking and treats and my husband excelled at full meals. When we were first married, he took over most of the cooking and that didn’t stop with the birth of our kids. From the moment they were able to sit by themselves, they began participating in the cooking experience. At the beginning, it was simple things like stirring or dumping premeasured ingredients into a bowl , but as they have gotten older, they have been provided with more and more responsibility. My middle child has really taken an interest in cooking. Whenever his father is a creating a meal in the kitchen, he is at his side taking in new kitchen skills and ways to prepare food.
It wasn’t until this past year, that he has found his comfort level in the kitchen to begin pursuing it food preparation on his own. With the open concept of our kitchen and family room, it makes it easy for him to feel independent in the kitchen, while parental supervision isn’t far away. Spaghetti sauce from scratch, taco dinners and sausage and rice dishes are a few of his favourite meals to make, but he never afraid to pull up a recipe online and try to recreate it too. When he began expressing his need for freedom in the kitchen, I knew we had to reestablish a few cooking rules for safety in the kitchen.
5 Kitchen Rules for Cooking with Kids
- Review Safety Rules– Cooking is a potentially dangerous task. You have sharp objects, heat etc. that can lead to injuries and trouble. Before beginning the cooking task, review with your child the potential dangers they will come in contact with and how deal with them. Stress things like how to properly carry and cut with a knife, what type of fire can potential start and how to put it out, don’t touch electrical beater when on, etc.
- Prepare the chef – Prior to cooking, you want to ensure that long hair is tied back and loose clothing is rolled up to prevent them from coming in contact with the food or catching on fire. As well, it is important to stress proper hand washing techniques before and during the cooking experiences. It is important that they understand the handling raw meat and poultry or using utensils and cutting boards that have touched that raw meat will contaminate the meal and lead to them getting sick.
- Prepare the workstation – Before you begin to create a recipe it is a good idea to gather all of your ingredients and tools to ensure you have everything you need to complete the recipe. Chop, shred or grate ingredients, and measure them into small bowls, will allow you to work quickly and efficiently.
- Take your time and ask for help – Cooking can be a very stressful task. Water is boiling over here, you need to add ingredients over there and there are multiple things going on at once. Even for an adult, cooking can be stressful. Encourage your little one to ask for help when they are overwhelmed and not to rush around the kitchen. Cooking isn’t always a success. We all have failures and it’s ok!
- Stay alert during clean up – When the cooking is all done, there are many potential hazards still lying about. Make sure that your child is aware of this! From making sure that oven is off to keeping electrical cords away from wet surfaces to keeping sharp knifes out of sinks of water are just a few precautions then need to e aware of.
Cooking is a lot of fun and very rewarding. When you get the kids in the kitchen making meals, you will find that they have a better appreciated of the time and effort that goes into creating a meal. Have fun and stay safe!