Cooking With Kids

As a mom of two girls, cooking with kids is something I need to start focusing on.  Up to this point, my youngest has shown an interest in helping me in the kitchen, but since I cook so infrequently, there have been very few options for me to help her learn to cook.  And, since part of my job as a parent is to teach my children how to eventually make it on their own, it is time for me to make sure my older daughter also learns kitchen basics.

Including my children with such things as meal planning and cooking recipes is something I admit I have been very bad about.  However, I am going to forgive myself, since I have not been cooking, so it isn’t as though I have purposely neglected to teach them what I know, since what I know is next to nothing.

My children are actually really excited to help me with cooking food and making meals.  My oldest is tall enough to help with stove cooking, and she has helped me make pancakes.  My younger daughter is too short, though, and risks burning her arms or hands, so I will focus on having her help me with adding ingredients to whatever cooking recipes I might choose to make.

Be sure to practice kitchen safety for kids if you want to involve your own children in the kitchen:

  • All cooking participants need to wash their hands thoroughly with soap before touching anything.
  • Never leave pots or pans unattended, since this is a fire and burn hazard (a very good friend of mine burned down her kitchen by stepping away from her stove for just a moment while oil was heating – don’t do it!).
  • Never leave your children unattended while cooking.  This will keep everyone safe and healthy.
  • Keep knives and other sharp objects away from little hands.  Even medium-sized hands can get cut if they do not show proper respect to sharp blades.
  • Make sure everyone in the kitchen is wearing shoes that cover the entire foot.  Hot food or sharp objects can fall and cause injury to exposed feet.  Feet covered with shoes are much more likely to stay safe.
  • Teach kids about proper food handling/cleaning and the dangers of cross-contamination.  It is all too easy for kids to mix meat with non-meat foods/utensils/etc., so be sure to prevent food-borne illness by providing them with the knowledge they need to keep everyone healthy.
  • Make sure all spills are cleaned up right away.  This will prevent falls.
  • Teach kids to never put metal objects in microwaves.  Doing so can cause a fire.

The above list is not all-inclusive.  Be sure to use common sense, and have fun.

Lastly, keep your cool.  Cooking with kids can be frustrating, so take a deep breath when needed (I know I will as I involve my children more frequently).

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