Children love learning and doing new things. The moment you teach them something new; whether it’s a new game; a new trick; or a new recipe, they get all upbeat about it and want to show off their expertise to the next person around. So, it is important to keep them excited, engaged and interested in whatever they do.
Many parents don’t try and get their kids in the kitchen, as they feel they are too young to learn the intricacies that go into cooking. Even if they do, they don’t involve their children in any of the kitchen activities; whether cooking, baking or cleaning. However, if your child is over three years, it is imperative to teach them the basics early on in life. Cooking is an important life skill and it is the best way to teach your child about nutrition, healthy food and food safety.
Keeping your children engaged and interested in the activities of the kitchen is the key. You need to allow them to get their hands dirty, literally. They will enjoy and have fun when it involves hands-on activities and of course food!
Let’s walk through some simple tips that will get your kid in the kitchen and teach them the basic skills. Combining food with hands-on activities is always a great idea.
Involve your kid when you are cooking or baking. If you are making bread or chapatti, give them some dough and let them try and make it on their own. Let them get their hands dirty. Later, when it is ready, make them eat their masterpiece. They will love it and keep coming back to the kitchen!Always keep your kid interested by introducing new kid-friendly recipes. If your child is learning his or her alphabets, make an apple smoothie and teach them what ‘A’ stands for, or make a mango shake and teach them what ‘M’ stands for. This will not only help them remember their letters but also help them drink their juice happily.Make your child work on the preparation while you read out the recipe to him or her. Or make your child read out while you prepare. Either way, they will enjoy and remember it when they want to show off their skills to their friends.Try out new fruits and vegetables each week starting with different alphabets. Select a letter of the week and build your kids’ vocabulary. This will help them remember their letters faster.Take out the measuring spoons and let your child use them based on the requirement. Also, show them what the measurements look like; whether it is one teaspoon; or one tablespoon or one cup. Showing practically always works.Try and make tortillas, sandwiches or pitas of different shapes and teach them shapes, sizes and numbers. Cutting fruits or veggies in different shapes will also help them learn and make it fun for them to eat.You need to teach your children the basics of hygiene. For instance, tell them how important it is to wash their hands before preparing food or after; or to wipe the counters if they have spilled any food.Show them that they need to keep seafood, poultry or raw meat separate from ready-to-eat food. Also, tell them that they should wait until the food is cooked before tasting.Do not overlook the aspect of teaching them basic cooking rules, such as, washing fruits and vegetables properly before eating or cooking.Show them that they need to use clean utensils or appliances while cooking. Always practice what you preach. If you don’t follow the basic rules, don’t expect your child to do either.
When you let your child in the kitchen, all you need to do is let him or her have fun. Don’t have too many restrictions. However, you need to keep sharp objects like knife or scissors away from them to ensure their safety.
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