Watching your kids learn and discover things in the kitchen is a great experience for a parent. You get to really see how your child interacts with the world around them and how well they can understand and follow directions. However, just letting your child run wild in the kitchen could be a big headache for you and a danger for them. So to help both you and your child have an enjoyable time preparing and cooking meals together, here are three tips for having your kids help you in the kitchen.
Finding Age-Appropriate Tasks
The tasks your child can and should be allowed to do in the kitchen will vary based on their age. It’s important not to try to push your child to do something they’re uncomfortable with or that would make them feel as though they have failed if you want to instill in them a feeling of love and appreciation for cooking.
To do this, Cambria Bold, a contributor to TheKitchn.com, shares that children under 18 months should just be watching and observing what you do in the kitchen. Once your child is between 18 months and three years, he or she can help with stirring, pouring, and simple cleaning. Four and five year olds can learn to crack eggs, measure ingredients, and even do a little cutting with plastic knives. Six to nine year olds can learn to use a real knife and a can opener, peel fruits and veggies, and help put groceries away.
Set Some Ground Rules For Safety
While spending time in the kitchen can be fun for the whole family, it is also a place filled up danger if your child isn’t careful. To make sure both you and your children stay safe while working in the kitchen, KidsHealth.org recommends setting some safety rules for your child while spending time in the kitchen either with you or by themself. These rules should include what’s okay and not okay to touch, like burners on the stove and coffee pots, as well as cleanliness rules like washing hands before and after handling food.
Let Them Help Outside The Kitchen, Too
To get a full cooking experience, your child needs to be involved in the entire meal process, not just the preparation part. Shannon Honeybloom, a contributor to SheKnows.com, suggests getting your kids involved outside the kitchen with food in ways like planting a garden, picking meals for the family, and shopping for the ingredients. Not only will this help them understand all the hard work that goes into keeping them fed, but it will also be a great way to help them learn valuable life skills at a young age.
Creating memories with your children in the kitchen will help them have a love for cooking that will last their entire lives. Use the tips mentioned above to help start healthy food habits today.