Children like to mimic their parents. When toddlers want to start helping in the kitchen, encourage them by teaching basic safety, how to follow a recipe, and how to handle food properly.
Preparing foods as a family takes the mystery out kitchen tools, nurtures an interest in helping with family tasks, and can become a math, reading and nutrition lesson.
Quality time together – We are always looking for ways to spend quality time with our children, and cooking together is an ideal way to accomplish this.
Life skills – Learning important life skills gives us a better quality of life in the long haul. Learning things like good manners and respect, along with reading, writing and math are important parts of life, but so is learning how to cook.
Getting children involved in all aspects of cooking at a young age, also teaches them the value food. Food is expensive and should not be wasted if at all possible.
Part of the cooking lesson should be how to properly store leftover foods so it’s not wasted. Also how to eat leftovers is a great way to teach teach children that leftovers can be delicious.
What Does it Take To Teach your Kids Kitchen Confidence?
Give them small jobs to do where they can win. Offer a smile and words of encouragement for a job well done. Hand a child a banana and a butter knife and let them slice the banana! The more they participate in all aspects of cooking, the more confidence they will have in their ability to be a good cook!
Cooking starts with recipes. Learn about measurements and work on reading skills by looking through a cookbook together. Let the children turn the pages and read the measurements out loud. This encourages fine motor skills, reading comprehension and oral skills.
To work on dexterity, have a plastic set of measuring cups and spoons handy for the children to hold and grab while learning about measurements.
Kids Can Help in The Kitchen by:
- Stirring Cold Things
- Washing Fruits and Vegetables
- Measuring (get colorful measuring cups)
- Cutting Simple Things with a dull knife
- Using a Potato Masher
- Grease the Cake Pan
- Using A Wire Wisk to Beat Eggs
- Stir Jello
- Peeling Fruit
- Peeling a Potato
- Grating Cheese
- Making Toast
- Buttering Bread
Show children how to wash their hands with soap and water and how to rinse. Make up a favorite song to use each time you wash that lasts at least 20 seconds.
- Always wash your hands before and after preparing food.
- Always wash kitchen counters before and after preparing food.
- Scrub the kitchen sink before and after preparing family meals.
- Show them how to wash fresh fruits and vegetables by using a vegetable brush or a bottled produce spray.
- Take a short field trip outside to a backyard garden or local plant nursery to show the kids where food grows and why it needs to get washed before cooking.
- After washing fresh fruits together, make a fresh fruit snack.
Be safe and make sure you have a stool for your child to safely stand on so they can reach things.
Buy cute aprons and chef hats to make it clean and fun.
From there teach the importance of using different knives and different cutting boards for meats and vegetables. Never cut fresh meat on the same cutting board as you would slice fresh vegetables.
Older children can learn how to safely handle raw meats.
Start by laying out all the ingredients that the recipe calls for.
Have everyone get involved in setting the table and then eat together. Kids will be more likely to try whatever you have cooked so choose the recipe wisely.
Clean up should be fun and involve everyone. Although dishwashers have replaced the joys of “you wash & I’ll dry,” there are still many chores that kids can enjoy doing together.
Let kids learn how to gently crack the eggs into a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, mixing it all together with a wire whisk. Next show how easy it is to dip the bread into the egg mixture, covering both sides, and then cooking in a heated skillet.
MOST IMPORTANT – SMILE AND HAVE FUN!