Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Cook

What mom couldn’t use some help in the kitchen? Well, if you have children, you may have a sous chef (or two or three!) in the making. These tips for teaching kids to cook may help you to help yourself by allowing them to take over some of the kitchen duties. Kids who help in the kitchen also tend to eat what they’ve helped prepare with less fuss or pickiness.

Before teaching your children anything about working in a kitchen, teach them about cleanliness above all else. Basic safety rules like washing your hands before you begin, not licking your fingers while preparing food, and keeping raw and cooked foods separate will go a long way toward keeping family members healthy.

Read the entire recipe before you start so you’ll be sure that you understand the directions and know which utensils and ingredients you’ll need. Gather everything together. If you can, measure out the ingredients ahead of time. This will make the actual preparation go smoother. Follow the directions exactly to get the best results from your efforts.

Teach them safety tips like: always use hot pads to remove items from the stove or oven; don’t lick hot spoons or handle food while it is still hot.

Sharp knives work better than dull ones, so keep your kitchen knives sharp. Teach your child the proper way to hold a knife, how to slice food without cutting themselves, and how to care for and store knives. Don’t put knives into a sink full of soapy water someone could get cut.

Instead of leaving clean up to the end, teach your child how to clean while they cook. Put ingredients away when you’re done with them. Run a sink of hot, soapy water and place dishes in the sink so washing them later is faster. Wipe up any spills you may have made so they don’t have a chance to dry and congeal on the countertops. Turn off and unplug any appliances.

Allow your children to watch you cook from an early age, and then begin allowing them to help. Even a 3 or 4 year old can help wash produce, stir a bowl of batter, assemble ingredients for salads, and more. It may take a little more time and patience on mom’s part, but there are many benefits. Your child may become more self sufficient in the kitchen at an earlier age. Their help can relieve some of the burden on mom too. When you feel confident that they understand the rules for your kitchen and can handle things on their own, let them do just that. You may be surprised to find that you have a little chef in the making.