First things first; even before you start cooking with your kids, you need to know that your food might not turn out as you hoped and you might end up with more kitchen mess than usual. That said, the tips we will delve into here will make the cooking process safer and fun, but not necessarily cleaner.
#1. Bring Your Kid Up To The Cooking Level
The first consideration to have in mind is your kids also need to see the cooking process. If you are going to involve them in the cooking process, they should be able to see everything you are doing. You child should also be able to reach the counter to assist you. This means you might have to invest in a step-stool for your child to stand on or a bar-stool to sit on. There are plenty of quality and affordable step-stools on Etsy.
#2. Keep Your Child Away from Danger
For safety reasons, ensure your child’s workspace is free of any danger. Ensure your kid is far away from the stove, the oven, and near sharp utensils, including your knives. If you want them to use cooking utensils, there are child-friendly ones such as this Little Chef Kids Cooking and Baking Set. Make a habit of keeping your child in safe environments. For instance, even when the stove and oven are turned off, keep your child away from these amenities.
#3. Ask Your Children What to Make
Asking your children what to make is a huge learning opportunity for them. For instance, if they request to make something that is not nutritious such cake for lunch or dinner, take the opportunity to teach them about a balanced diet and healthy nutrition. Additionally, you also get n opportunity to teach your child about meal planning and budgeting for meals. These are all great lessons to teach your kids. If you are making desert, make this classic pumpkin pie recipe – it’s delicious, and easy for kids to create.
#4. Teach Your Kids Good Hygiene
Cooking with your kids also allows you to teach your kids about good hygiene. Whenever you cook with him or her, you should wash your hands together before you preparing the food. In doing so, you will instill good hygiene habits in your child. And as you can appreciate, if your child likes to play, they will play with dirt at some point.
#5. Read Your Recipes Aloud
Reading together with your child is an integral part of their development. Reading the recipes loud exposes the child to hearing words and the art of reading. Consequently, your child will have an easier time pronouncing the words and sounding them out once he or she starts reading. And since any simple text will help, you might as well read out the recipes. If your child has started reading, you should let him or her practice his or her reading skills by reading the recipe aloud.
#6. Assign Your Child Age-Appropriate Tasks
Keep the age of your child in mind when assigning tasks. There are things your child cannot handle wing their age, and only the parent will know the variety of tasks that your child can or cannot handle. However, you can use this as a guide:
Infant – At this particular age, your child will be of little help other than giving you company. Nonetheless, they can learn from you. As such, talk through your cooking processes and read out the menu and recipes.
Toddler – At the age of two years, your child will be able to handle some tasks such as pouring ingredients and stirring them. In the beginning, they will need your assistance, but with age and practice, they will handle the tasks alone.
Preschool – Once your kid is in preschool, you can ask your kid to count the ingredients. For instance, when baking a cake that has 4 eggs as the ingredient, ask your child to count the eggs while preparing and or mixing the ingredients.
Elementary – The ages between 6 and 10 years are perfect for helping your child learn how to measure ingredients and practice basic cooking techniques and skills. You should consider teaching them and later on allowing them to use the mixer, to roll the dough, to open a can, and other minor tasks.
Older Children – As a parent, you will be able to asses the maturity of your child. Depending on your comfort level, you may allow him or her to start using the knives in chopping as well as using the oven and the stove. Over time, your child will be able to handle tasks in the kitchen on their own completely.
#7. Make It A Cultural Experience
You can use the cooking sessions to compliment your child’s education. For instance, if they are learning about a particular region of culture in the world, you can make a dish from that culture. This will be fun for your child and also allow you to be involved in his or her education. This approach is particularly exemplary for elementary school kids, where it can be part of the homeschool curriculum.
#8. Allow All Your Children To Participate In Turns
If you have young kids, it can be difficult if they are in the kitchen helping you. Instead of having all of them in the kitchen, work out a plan for them to take turns, and assist in the kitchen. They can alternate in doing specific tasks or take different nights to help you. Importantly, ensure they understand that their work is valued and every child is part of your team.
#9. Cook Healthy
The rise of childhood obesity is a huge problem that needs tackling right from the beginning. As such, it is essential to teach your kids about making healthy choices. To this end, teach your kids to make more than just brownies and cap cakes. Involve your children in preparing vegetables as well. Inspire your kids to eat foods that are more notorious and healthy.
#10. Remind Your Kids About Clean Up
Mealtime should always end with clean up. Similar to teaching your child about washing their hands at the beginning of the cooking, you should teach them about cleaning after cooking. Keep in mind that while cooking with your kids, there might be a more significant mess and more cleaning to do at the end. That said, do not worry your child so much about cleaning while cooking. Just ensure you remind them about clean up after eating dinner.