Being in the kitchen is not only for big people, with this series of blogs we hope to inspire parents and our mini foodies to have healthy habits and give them the tools, skills and confidence to ignite their passion for cooking.
A common question is – when is the right time to introduce kids to the kitchen? With so many hazards, including sharp knives and hot stoves, one would be forgiven for erring on the side of caution, but with the correct age appropriate guidelines and kitchen rules in place, parents can take advantage of our mini foodies curiosity from as young as 18 months.
It is important to realise that regardless of what age you introduce your kids to the kitchen, patience and verbal communication sets the tone for how our mini foodies perceive the kitchen for years to come. For this reason, our first and most important tip is that you choose a time where you will not be rushing, for this, weekends may be the best. Talking down to our kids (unintentionally of course) is a sure-fire way to extinguish their curiosity in the kitchen, so avoid phrases like “here let me do that” or “that’s not how it’s done”.
If you are rushed or just not “feeling it” rather postpone the lesson, trust us this is best for everyone involved and feelings are spared. In the beginning its important not to overload our kids, so we suggestion teaching them one new skill a week, and then allowing them time and space to practice, while you supervise.
Important kids kitchen rules
- Always ask for an grownups’ permission before cooking in the kitchen
- Tie back long hair and roll up your sleeves
- Wash your hands and dry them well, wet hands can be slippery
- If your mini foodie can’t reach the counter top, get a sturdy chair or steps to get them to the right level
- Clean as you go
- Always use oven mitts or a towel to carry and hold hot items
- Hot oil and water don’t mix – ever
- If there is a problem call a grownup right away – no judgement here, at some point things will go wrong
- Have a fire safety conversation and stress the importance
- Create off-limit zones and utensils for the younger kids
- Ask before you lick (don’t judge, some kids lick everything)
- Listen, listen, listen
In this series of blog posts we will roll out age appropriate skills, additional safety rules for new skills and recipe ideas for each age group. You can use these as a guideline to help navigate the sometimes-daunting thought of kiddies in the kitchen.
Cooking is an invaluable life skill, by exposing our kids younger, it takes advantage of their curiosity not only to learn, but also to try almost all foods, understand the importance of healthy eating and gives them a sense of appreciation for the cooked meals they eat. Cooking along-side our kids is a great opportunity to talk about life, connect and teach them about the things we find important like our health and food.
We hope this inspires you to invite your mini foodies into the kitchen and get Cookin with confidence!