Children in The Kitchen: Creating Safety and a Love For Cooking

Cooking together is a fun way of bonding with your children, and you get to teach them a bunch of new skills as you go. You’ve probably noticed that asking them to help out with different types of food creates a variety of excitement; somehow, assisting with pulling together a quick mid-week dinner is nowhere near as much fun as it is to decorate cookies.

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Nonetheless, your children can’t eat cookies for the rest of their lives – no matter how much they’d like to. We’ve found the best advice out there on how to crack the code and boost their enthusiasm over weeknight meals, one dish at a time.

Safety first

Let’s get this one over with first; a kitchen is a place of boiling pots, spitting oil, and slippery floor. You shouldn’t let your child operate any knives or sharp objects when they’re still very young, but they can start to help out with the cutting at around five years old.

Give them a soft plastic knife and watch them slice soft veggies, such as mushrooms and herbs, into pieces. Mop up any spillages right away to make sure you both stay on your feet, and turn the handles of every pot and pan towards the wall – you don’t want anyone to bump into these. Have a look at for general kitchen safety rules.

As soon as you know it’s safe, your kitchen will turn into the perfect place for learning; you’re developing their motor skills, too, as well as a love for food.

Sowing the seeds

You can start to trigger their interest in food at a very young age – and your toddler can sit in a chair and observe your cooking skills until she is old enough to tear a few green leaves herself. Consider buying food related toys for her to play with until she’s at the right age for being your assistant. Use for some awesome kitchen toys, by the way. It’s all about creating an interest in food and the kitchen at this stage.

Introduce them to new vegetables and don’t let a picky eater keep you from cooking with a variety of ingredients; remember that children need to taste a new food multiple times before they start to like it.

Trust them with responsibility

You probably have a few memories yourself of when your parents trusted you to do something – which means they were a valuable learning experience for you. Treat your children the same way in the kitchen and be patient; you don’t want them to associate cooking with bossy parents when it’s supposed to be fun.

Depending on his or her age, hand out a few important tasks. They can help you with fetching ingredients, mashing potatoes, and rinsing vegetables at almost any age. Scattering toppings on a pizza and observing you as you perform more advanced tasks are also good ways of learning. School-age children can start to cut soft food under supervision – and it’s up to you when you think they’re ready to use the grown-up equipment.

This is a good age to introduce them to more complex culinary techniques, such as chopping and mincing, so prepare yourself for the next level of teaching.