Do you want to teach your kids how to cook?
Good, you’re in the right place.
I’m so excited to dive into this topic with you.
You see, Cooking with your kid is one of the best ways to spend quality time together whilst teaching them important life skills.
But if the thought of your kid with sharp knives and hot stoves is stressing you out, it may seem like a nightmare, right?
Especially if you barely know your way around the kitchen yourself.
I totally understand. My mom was actually a chef and didn’t teach me anything about cooking. When I wanted to make my own baby food, I was stumped.
I realized I didn’t want my kids to leave home without knowing basic cooking skills.
Now my tween girls can cook basic meals for themselves. And my 6-year-old son loves to help prepare family meals.
By the way, I’d highly recommend the Kids Cook Real Food online course to give you the confidence to do it. it too.
Let’s get started.
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These are my top tips for avoiding kitchen disasters from the start.
Don’t put off teaching your kids to cook. Start as soon as you can.
I’d recommend waiting until your kid is around 2 to get ‘hands-on’. But that doesn’t mean younger ones can’t start early.
Get them sitting in a high chair and let them watch you cook. Give them play spoons, pots and toy food and let them copy what you’re doing.
Watch Your Stress Levels
The kitchen can be a stressful place. Add in boisterous kids, heat and sharp knives, EEK.
I can see your stress levels rising now.
I recommend starting small and building up. Oh and pick a time when you don’t need to rush. Always double the amount of time you think it will take.
Plus you should teach your kids about the clean-up time too.
Introduce New Foods
Being hands-on with food makes you kid much more invested. It’s the perfect time to introduce a new food.
Talk to them about the food including the shapes, color, and texture and where it comes from. They are much more likely to try it at a meal time.
Next time you can then teach them a different way to cook it.
Let Them Help
Kids love to help. If you (or your kid) isn’t ready for a full-on cooking experience, ease them in gently.
Simple tasks such as gathering equipment or pouring ingredients give them a sense of purpose in the kitchen.
This way they can be slowly introduced into the effort needed to prepare meals.
Skills your Kid Will Learn
The kitchen is a practical learning lab for kids. You can reinforce skills they learn at kindergarten or school.
Cooking is especially great if your kids is a visual or hands-on learner.
From a young age reinforce words related to food, cooking, and the kitchen.
Kitchen tools are fantastic for this. Once they learn one and can easily recognize it, introduce another.
This is also a great way to introduce a second language to your baby.
Numbers are used all the time in the kitchen. From basic ingredient counting (how many eggs?) to adding and subtracting.
Cooking enables you to give kids a real-life example of using weights, time, measurements and percentages.
If you have a recipe to follow then your kid can read each step aloud.
This gives them an opportunity to demonstrate they understand the sentence and put it into action.
Reading recipes can help them follow sequences and directions in order.
Let your kid explore their five senses when cooking. Ask them to feel, smell and taste the foods they are working with.
Let them listen for cues such as a timer bell or a boiling kettle.
Even a disaster can turn into a lesson such as smelling and visualizing burnt foods.
This will help improve their vocabulary and literacy skills.
Your kids will love to get hands-on with the food. Let them knead, pour, fill and snap with their hands or using utensils.
As they get older let them graduate to working with things which require safety skills such as knives or hot water.
Cause and Effect
Let your kid be creative in the kitchen. Teach them about the different outcomes if you don’t follow the recipe. This teaches them that the actions they choose have consequences.
Also, a great lesson if they make too much mess and need to clean up the mess afterward!
Basic Kitchen Safety
We’ve already discussed that the kitchen can be fun, but we also know it has a lot of dangers for children.
Rather than avoid the kitchen it’s a great way to teach them safety skills and how to avoid being hurt.
If you have a cupboard with cleaning equipment or sharp tools, keep these out of reach of younger children. If they are still too young, remember to enforce that only you can open cupboards.
Start to give your child some responsibility as they grow, but always supervise them first.
This mostly applies to the use of knives, heat and electric appliances.
Teach your kids basic hand hygiene and remember to let them know that not all foods are safe to eat when raw.
Any food which can spread bacteria such as eggs or raw meat should be handled by parents.
Also never let your child cook if they are ill.
It’s important to clean up any spilled food or liquids, especially if it’s on the floor, as they can become a slipping hazard.
If you’re ready to teach your kid all those important life skills. Then learn how to handle sharp knives and heat. And clear their plate at dinner time. Then check out the Kids Cook Real Food Course. It has everything you need to know about teaching your kids to cook – even if you can’t.
Teach Your Kids How to Cook In 7 Easy Steps
You don’t need to rigidly stick to a game plan when cooking with your kids.
Let it be as spontaneous as possible or tensions will run high. There are a few basics you’ll want to keep in place and then the fun part is up to you and your little one.
1. Create their space
Your kitchen is designed for adult’s, not children. Consider using other areas such as the dining table as worktops. That way you kid has easier access and space to work.
For younger kids use a modular high chairs, or consider a kids kitchen stand to safely boost them to worktop height.
2. Choose a Recipe
Start off with recipes that you are comfortable with making. Perhaps ones that don’t require lots knives or heat.
I’d recommend picking 3 age-appropriate options and letting your kid select which one. This gives them a sense of control
Gift your kid with their own recipe books or try Pinterest for lots of free recipe inspiration.
3. Read it
Now you have your recipe, ask your kids to search for it. Let them find the book or find it online.
If they can, let them read the recipe through and follow the instructions.
Having a rough idea of what you need to do will save you all stress and help with the next two steps.
4. Delegate Tasks
Whether it’s only the two of you cooking or a few more, give everyone a task from the recipe.
Try not to have too many children cooking at once, or it can lead to accidents and a disastrous recipe outcome.
You’ve heard that too many cooks spoil the broth, right?
If you have a few kids try to alternate who gets to be the head chef and who are the helpers each time.
Make sure you have all the equipment and ingredients available for the recipe.
Discuss what you need with your child and let them find the items in the kitchen.
6. Wash Hands
Before you start everyone has to wash their hands. Tell your kids why this is important and how germs on food can make them sick.
Cover up any open wounds with waterproof plasters.
7. Let Them Progress
Once thieve mastered basic techniques, let you kid progress onto a new skill.
Obviously, at this stage, you’ll be hovering nervously by. That’s why you need to instill the kitchen safety advice as a foundation.
Dishes To Master
Remember the kitchen needs to be age appropriate for your kid. Don’t go expecting your 4-year-old to make a Sunday lunch for the family.
As a rule of thumb a five-year-old should know how to:
- Knead dough
- Use cookie cutters
- Crack eggs
- Grate cheese
- Use basic tools like a sieve, whisk, and blender
- Peel vegetables with a peeler
As your kid gets old to give them more responsibility in the kitchen. It’s thought that by that age of 9 most kids should be able to do the following tasks on their own:
- Chop fruit and vegetables
- Make a sandwich
- Scramble eggs
- Bake fairy cakes
- Thread a kebob
- Prepare a simple salad
- Make a salad dressing
How many of those can your kid do? If its all of them, then you’re on the right track, Mama.
If its none, then consider taking the Kids Cook Real Food e-course. It will have your kids trained in the kitchen in no time. And you’ll be teaching them a whole lot of useful life skills at the same time.
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Teaching your kids to cook can be a scary parenting task.
However, it’s so beneficial to your kid’s in the long run. You are setting them up for the rest of their life.
Take it all in bite-sized chunks and work at it slowly. You’ll be amazed at how it helps your kid to be a better eater and help out more at home.