Many parents overlook this but one of the most interesting and useful things you can teach a child period, no one can survive without eating and this essential skill will help them get very far in life without any doubt. However, parents are pretty scared about the combination of children and kitchen since it can get a little risky if you overlook things, however, there are some safe and surefire ways to introduce your children to the kitchen and teach them to properly cook meals. First off I have to say that you need to be patient before even starting this journey.
Why is it important to teach cooking to children, first off you should know that it is a life skill, and it makes them be more independent, as well as boost their creativity. Cooking at home encourages to take up healthy eating habits. You child will also be introduced to different kinds of food and preparing techniques.
There is a special cooking vocabulary that your children will pick up, will be better at maths with weighing, measuring and stuff, and also will learn some science from the mixing of the recipes.
Before starting though, you have to state the rules of the kitchen, for both hygiene and safety, and both of you should not break the rules at all times. First off you have to wash your hands with soap before and after handling food, long hair should be tied up and be out of the way. The working surface should be clean at all times, practice patience and teach your child to wait for the food to cool down before tasting, and don’t let them lick their fingers. Don’t use the same spoon for tasting and stirring the pot for example.
After you teach your child kitchen hygiene, you are ready to start cooking, however, you have to dedicate time for it, and it isn’t going to happen before the school rush. So dedicate special time each weekend or after school to prepare lunch or dinner for the family together. Just make sure to dedicate enough time and energy, as well as patience, which you’ll need lots of.
Learn to accept that there will be a mess, a huge one, it will be disastrous the first few times, and maybe longer than that. However, remember that they are just children and they will make some mess, especially if they are multiple, nothing worse than a tag-team. To counter that, equip them with cleaning cloths and get them to work, teach them to take responsibility for the mess they created.
Also use normal utensils, not those children sized ones as they are not a good investment and will take unnecessary space on your kitchen, and for those living in apartments, this is a nightmare. Just stick to the normal ones, they can use them just as well.
It is also pretty crucial to give them appropriate tasks, and this is very subjective, to say the least since not every child is the same, and it will depend on the interest, age, and skill, to find a challenging enough task without being too hard. One thing to remember is that children really know when you are brushing them off, so choose tasks that are appropriate for them, but don’t let it be too easy, this is the hardest part of teaching them to cook actually.
Also, don’t forget to find child-appropriate recipes and make a list of them. Afterwards, let your children choose the recipe that they like so they really feel like they are part of the whole process.
Finally after some years of practice and if you see them growing their interest for this skill when they reach puberty let them cook their own meals with your supervision to see how they do. I promise you it will be all worth it and it will definitely be really fun.
If your baby is still too young, try to blend their food before making them eat it. You can do that by using a blender for baby food.