One of my favorite pastimes is cooking with my children. Do you have kids? If you do, I want to heavily recommend that you teach them the joys of the kitchen while they’re still young and look up at you like a superhero that has all the answers. Teaching your children how to cook is more than a rite of passage; it’s just plain fun. To me, the kitchen is like a magical land that can create a special type of community and intimacy with the simple act of making a meal.
There are some little things you should look out for when you start to integrate your children into the cooking world: the basic do’s and don’ts.
DO assign simple tasks. When starting out, show them how to wash veggies, how to stir sauces to not let the sides burn, how to scramble eggs, etc.
DON’T let your child use a knife and cutting board without supervision and being taught proper technique.
DO give them a bit more responsibility as they show they understand. Show them basic vegetable cutting, but once you pass that knife from your hand to theirs, watch them like a hawk. (younger ones can use pumpkin carving knives safely, so save yours!)
DON’T let your child remove anything from the oven. But explain how it’s done as you do it; this way, when it’s time, they’ll be ready.
DO explain how when you’re using a pot or pan that you need to turn the handle to the side so it’s not sticking out so no one can run into it or accidentally knock it over.
DON’T allow them to handle meat until they’ve had a couple seasoned years under your training, but explain the safety issues and demonstrate thorough hand washing after you touch it.
ALWAYS let them sneak tastes of their labor in the kitchen. One of my favorite things about cooking is that I get to taste along the way, and I can guarantee that it’ll be a favorite among your children as well.
Well folks, there you have it! Show your children what a kitchen is and how to use it. My daughter is a college graduate now and she tells me all the time how surprised she is that hardly anyone her age knows how to cook. Regardless, your children are going to love learning this new skill! For them, it’s like finally getting to know the secret behind a magic trick. Have FUN!!
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This was a great primer for Grandparents, as well. Our g-kids are coming this weekend. I’ll plan to engage them in some food prep activity. Thanks!
Thank you so much Leanne! Always enjoy reading your wise ideas 🙂 Allison in Oakland, CA
Thank you, Allison!
My son loved chopping the veggies with me to make dinner. Seems like we chopped celery almost every night. I didn’t want to make a big deal out of every little thing when he was really young, so I used his veggies in cooking and threw away anything we were eating raw without him seeing it. I just didn’t want him to only remember washing his hands every time he touched his nose or anything else.
It’s so disappointing, because at 25 years old he’s afraid of the kitchen. Since he’s autistic, he worries about leaving the heat on or cutting himself. We’ve been trying to find ways to make him comfortable using different techniques. Love to hear any recommendations to help him.