6 safety tips when cooking with kids.
Cooking is a valuable life skill, a great way to build relationships and an all-around fun thing to do. Despite all these positive qualities, cooking with little ones can still be stressful.
To make it a little less worrying, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions to help you cook with your kids. If you follow these, you should have a cleaner, safer and slightly less tense cooking experience. More than that, you’ll teach your children the valuable and captivating art of cooking.
Wash those hands
Adults know to wash their hands before and during the cooking process to avoid introducing unwanted germs and contaminants into the food they’re sharing.
Though it’s a necessary step, this might be a new idea for children, and one they struggle to be consistent with. So make sure to give a lot of clear reminders.
Whether it’s long hair, jewelry, toys, electronic devices or snacks, it’s best to keep your working area clean when you’re cooking with kids.
Introducing extra clutter will increase the potential for something to slip, spill or fall into your food on accident. Organize the area before you begin to avoid any issues.
Clean as you cook
Cleaning as you go is a habit that will serve kids well in life, and you can never teach it too early. This is particularly true when you have little helpers around the kitchen.
It’s a smart practice to move items you’re done using for prep or cooking to the cleaning station, so you don’t have to come back to them when you’re content and full.
Watch those sharp edges
The concern that someone will get cut or poked is sincere for adults cooking with children for the first time. It’s a persistent fear for a good reason. You don’t want to give that kind of responsibility to very young children, but as kids age into it, be sure that you lay out some simple ground rules for using knives.
Make sure kids know not to wave sharp edges around in general. Teach them how to always cut away from themselves, so they won’t slip and hurt themselves. Also, teach them which knife to use for the job, so they don’t ruin the prep by sawing the chicken breast with a bread knife.
Demonstrate the proper cutting technique by showing kids how to use a claw grip around the item you’re cutting. This technique makes it less likely they’ll slice small fingers when getting to know their way around the kitchen.
Use the right tool
Along those same lines, kids will be much more helpful assistants if they have an idea of which tools are available to them and how to use them. So teach them about the fundamentals of what you’re doing.
Introduce them to mixing bowls, knives and cutting boards, the sink and additional tools like whisks, can openers, juicers, the microwave and measuring cups. Older kids might even be ready to step up to using the oven, grill, and stove to heat their meals.
Equipping children with a basic knowledge of these items early on will help them mature into skilled chefs. They’ll be unafraid to learn new recipes that require them to use a broader range of tools.
Assign a job to everyone
If you’ve got more than one helper in the kitchen, it’s a good idea to have specific assignments for kids to work on.
Establishing responsibilities ahead of time ensures they don’t get carried away and embark on a project you haven’t adequately trained them for, or that requires a tool they’re not familiar with. Make it clear that once they have finished one job, you expect them to come to you for the next assignment before continuing.
Cooking as a family
Cooking as a family or with friends can be a lot of fun. As an adult with cooking skills, it feels good to pass on your knowledge. Plus, if you do it well enough, you’ll eventually have someone to do the cooking for you! (Hopefully!)
Just make sure you follow the suggestions above, so everyone stays safe and happy in the kitchen.