COOKING WITH KIDS – an easy , breezy full on fun experience..!!
The kitchen is a very nice place to be – warm and cozy. Maybe that is why most children love to hang around their mother’s apron strings, sniffing the various smells and tasting the magical dishes on the stove. In my house, my entire life revolves around the kitchen. All day I do the wonderful dance, the dance between the pots, the pantry and the stove. Some how Irene and Ryan have also got used to the idea. Hence we now do our studies at the small kitchen table too.
It is hard to work with children. It requires a lot of extra patience, extra clean up and sometimes extra ingredients for the failed experiments that go into the dustbin. But there are indeed a lot of benefits for cooking with children. In the present time, when most children are addicted to junk foods, cooking at home makes them more interested in the variety of foods available. It is also an excellent way of introducing new healthy foods to them. But the best part for me is that the children are occupied in something more interesting than the television. And I get to spend some good extra time with them. It is indeed a confidence booster to prepare a dish and get the accolades for it. Cooking is a useful skill to learn. So it is always a win win situation.
What is the perfect age to start cooking?
Well, according to me, there is no specific age group. Children as young as 3 years can help out in the kitchen. I would not wait for a child to be 17 years of age before I initiated them into having fun. At that age, children are mostly caught up in adolescence issues and cooking will be the last thing on their minds. Children as young as 3 years can help in the kitchen, by tearing the lettuce for the salad, cutting the cookies with a cutter or even washing the cut vegetables. An older child can make a simple full meal like a pasta or macaroni and cheese.Every little act is of immense value.
What are the rules that Moms and kids need to follow in the kitchen?
However Moms and Little Chefs, care and caution must be exercised in the kitchen. Here are some basic rules to follow for the new chefs in the kitchen.
- Adult supervision is always necessary. Get permission and help fro an adult so that unnecessary mishaps can be evaded.
- Wash your hands well with soap before and after handling foodstuff. Hygiene is a very important part of cooking.
- Always read the recipe you are going to make before you start cooking.
- Keep all the ingredients out at hands reach. This is so that you do not have to run around for the ingredients during cooking.
- Always use oven mitts or a pot holder to hold hot pans and pots. Take care not to burn your fingers.
- When the pot / pan is on the oven, turn the handles in. This is done in order to ensure that you do not knock over the pan by accident.
- Don’t stick your finger into the dish to test its whether it is done. It is unhygienic and you can also burn your finger.
- Switch off the stove once you are done using it.
- If you are not familiar with using knives, ask for the help of an adult. Always use a chopping board and hold the knife properly, never hold a knife by its blade.
What can we do as parents to help the child?
- Encourage the child to be experimental in the kitchen.
- Support him / her in this learning process. A parent’s prainse and encouragement goes a long way.
- Compliment them when they have done a job well, cleaned up nicely or made a tasty dish. By giving the child a compliment, you are boosting their confidence thereby making them happier.
- Open up communication channels. Tell the child stories of your cooking experiences. Tell them about your disasters. They will learn from what you say. Anecdotes make the process more interesting.
- During this time talk to you child, communicate ideas and thoughts. When you are elbow to elbow covered in flour and butter, having fun, children tend to be more receptive.
- Do not get frustrated or angry with the child. Remember you do not have a Julia Child standing in the kitchen with you, just a wannabe chef. deal with the situation accordingly.
- If a dish is bad, don’t outright say it is BAD. Instead you can say that the dish is wonderfully made, but would be better if you added some more salt, sugar etc. Talk in a positive manner.
- Don’t expect a 3 year old child to be as efficient as a 10 year old child. be practical and allot things as per the age and the child’s ability. Don’t make this a task. Make it enjoyable.The easier a dish is to prepare,, the more the child will make it. So set the child up for a happy, successful cooking experience.
Try this with your children. It will be a nice learning experience, a family experience , a bonding experience. I will form my side try to post a child recipe once a week. Something that the little chefs in my house whip up. This way we can have fun together. Keep watching this space for more..!!
Note: Pictures are from Google..!