In our house, cooking begins when we wake up and doesn’t end until we’re all in bed. It’s an all day process of being in and out of the kitchen as we juggle other tasks. With one little one and one semi-little one with us constantly it’s rare to get solitary time doing what we love to do. With little other options we’re faced with the ultimatum to include the children in our cooking. And if that came off a little Hansel and Gretel-y I apologize, but that’s not what I meant.
Callie, who’s 9, loves the freedom of being able to cook on her own. She’s a master at scrambled eggs. She successfully shopped for and cooked, from start to finish, her own soup– which came out awesome! Cocobaby is content sitting on the counter next to me playing in flour and occasionally poking the food. She knows what “hot” is and that knives are off limits, but other than that she has free reign over the kitchen, just like every other member of our house. Instead of focusing on where she can’t play, we redirect her to where she can play. It’s much easier for us than childproofing. Last night when I was cooking I looked down to find her playing in the tupperware cabinet. Only her beady little eyes were peeking out:
We’ve tried to do the Easy Bake Ovens and other child-geared food equipment, but they just seemed silly. Mixing a packet of powder with water wasn’t really teaching Callie how to cook, unless I want to coach her on how to successfully prepare Mac & Cheese for the rest of her life. To me the best way to teach your child to cook safely doesn’t require big plastic tools covered in stickers, you just simply have to break it down to what it really is: teach your child to cook. Safely.
You’d be surprised at how much more my children are willing to eat when they had a part to play in preparing the meal. The self esteem that comes from letting them see what they are capable of. And most importantly, you’re teaching them a life long skill that they will always cherish.
Interested in letting your kids get more hands on in the kitchen? Here’s some articles I liked:
Now it’s your turn: How do you let your children participate in meal preparation? At what age do you feel it’s appropriate to be introduced to the more dangerous kitchen equipment, like microwaves, ovens or knives?Â