How to Cook with Children
Cooking with children is the best way for them to learn to eat correctly and healthy. For a child, the kitchen should not be a prohibited place, where prepared food magically appears. Starting from 3-4 years old the child should go into the kitchen and help with small and simple tasks. In the kitchen, a child can develop their senses, refine their motor skills, feel a sense of responsibility and learn to delay gratification. Moreover, if the child is involved in the preparation of their own food, they will appreciate the effort put into making food, as well as enhancing their capabilities, this will arouse curiosity for food and they will be less reluctant to try new foods or eat foods they don't particularly want to eat. On the other hand cooking with your children can be a fun activity to perform as a family. Here at oneHOWTO we have some guidelines that will help you learn how to cook with children.
Kids love rituals. Before you throw them into the kitchen, develop a hygienic ritual of hand washing and tying up hair if necessary, explaining the importance of hygiene in the kitchen to the child. Remind them of the importance of hygiene whilst cooking if necessary.
Use fun props. Children love to dress up. A good idea to make the activity of cooking more enjoyable for the child is to make them a chef's hat, you can make this easily out of white cardboard. Complement the chef look with an apron: you can improvise with an old shirt or robe. Besides amusing the child, this will also prevent the child from staining their clothes. The important thing is that the child has fun in the kitchen and most children love making a mess. This will also allow them to get into character and will help foster a love of cooking.
Get everyone involved. The more people you get involved cooking the more fun it will be for your child. Kids will thrive with peers, why not invite a friend over and cook with them too? The first time you get your child to cook he may not want to, however if you encourage him with his friend this may make it a more enjoyable experience.
Start the child in the kitchen with dishes that appeal to them, like cookies, cakes, pizzas, etc., and gradually introduce them to preparing the dishes that interest them the least like vegetables and meats. Eventually they will learn to enjoy all kinds of food, seeing the importance of cooking food that is not just tasty, but good for them.
To introduce the kids to cooking, you can crossover from their enjoyment of toys. Edible dough is fun and the kids will love it because they can make colorful figures. After they have some fun with this you can look towards cooking real food with the kids. As mentioned earlier, cooking with fun food can encourage children to eat a great variety of foods, especially if you manage to sneak in nutrients without them realizing it.
Take advantage of the educational possibilities offered in the kitchen. Entice them with fun colours, shapes, books or utensils. Get them to help you measure out the ingredients, mix and feel like a productive part of the team. You will do discourage them if you forget that the purpose of the activity is not only to get them to learn about food, but to have fun doing so!
Have patience with your child as cooking with children requires a lot of it. It is possible that at first the dishes won't turn out very well, however, once on the table they will taste fine and the children will be more grateful for the delicious dishes you prepare. The child will be proud to continue helping in the kitchen even if they took at little while to work out the kinks. Unless the child has snuck something nasty in there, it will still be tasty despite the sloppiness, so just go ahead and eat it to give them some positive reinforcement, even if you are used to a Michelin star gourmand level of dining.
Some ideas for dishes to cook with kids include making pies, cookies and pizzas. Spread the tomato sauce and any other ingredients on the surface of the pizza, make balls of meat for meatballs, make chicken nuggets or even a homemade kinder egg.
Finally we would like to remind you that the child can start in the kitchen at 3-4 years old and at 6 can help in the preparation of any dish except those with dangerous knives, pots of boiling water or oil-filled pans, in which case it is better for an adult to do it. Always make sure to have a responsible adult in the room at all times.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO doe not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis.We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you'd like to read similar articles to How to Cook with Children, we recommend you browse around our Healthy living category.
- While you teach the child to cook, you can also teach them about hygiene and cleaning.