Teaching your kids how to cook provides them with a critical skill that they can use for the rest of their lives. Building these abilities at an early age will give them plenty of time to ask questions, learn from their mistakes, and hone their techniques, which will benefit them for years to come. But, it can be hard to know where to start with such a momentous task. Here are a few easy ways to get started.
Setting rules and teaching kitchen safety should be your top priorities when starting out. Teach young kids about the dangers of touching hot surfaces, and show older kids how to handle knives and other sharp utensils safely. This is also a great time to talk about the importance of proper sanitation and the dangers of cross-contamination. Demonstrate good hand-washing techniques and stress the importance of always washing up after handling raw meat. Three pathogens are responsible for more than 80 percent of foodborne illness and death each year. Yet, these kinds of ailments are easily prevented by following proper food-handling practices.
Find straightforward recipes that are easy for kids to follow. Look for recipes with just a few ingredients and simple steps so that their attention won’t start to wane. Once they can complete a few recipes easily, they’ll begin to feel a sense of accomplishment and can start to try harder steps. Another approach is to try a mid-level recipe, but complete the harder steps yourself while involving the kids in steps that would be easy for them to do, like measuring or mixing ingredients. This gets both of you in the kitchen and cooking together as a family.
Make It Fun
A surefire way to get your children engaged in kitchen activities is to find tasty recipes. Give them input or choices about what to make so that they feel like they’re in control. Yummy dessert recipes are usually a good place to start, but anything with fun shapes or colors can also keep their interest in the project and ensure they’re having fun. Don’t scold them if they make small messes or mistakes. They’re still learning the ropes and need as much encouragement as possible. Give them lots of praise for their creations, and make sure everyone gets a taste!
By teaching kids the rules of the kitchen early on, you’ll ensure that they’ll always be able to make a fabulous meal for themselves or others. Bon appétit!
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