Cooking is an activity most adults enjoy both because it is such a useful skill to have, and because it is a never-ending learning hub for new things. Cooking can be enjoyable for little kids too. It helps them mature while unleashing their creative abilities in a contained environment. Moreover, cooking can be a bridge for them to bond with their parents.
Cooking with kids is a little more fun and a little more messy. If you worry about the idea of bringing your kids into the kitchen, then you should try and follow these tips.
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Plan ahead of time.
When working with a child, especially with something new to them, you are the one they can depend on and to whom they set their trust to. Therefore, you must come prepared for every situation. Consider the child’s ability above all else. Younger children have a completely different control over their fine motor skills than older kids. When choosing a meal to prepare, you have to assign the child a task fit for their age level. This will not only prevent the child from hurting him or herself, but it will also make the flow of cooking more smooth.
Choose the right recipe.
Another thing to be considered while planning is the recipe itself. Sometimes it is best to ask the child what he or she wants to make. However, in case you have to do the choosing yourself, you have to decide on a meal the child will actually like tasting. Sometimes, making new food will help the child be exposed to new flavors, but this has to be done carefully or he child may end up hating that certain dish or ingredient.
Get the recipes and equipment ready.
You have to think of all the ingredients to be used and prepare them beforehand. This is so that cooking would be more efficient.
You also have to make sure the kitchen work space is organized, lowering the probability of making mess. You have to move away electrical devices and sharp knives or peelers, unless you will be there to guide them throughout the time they use them. In fact, you can create a separate area for the child to cook while you do the things that concern fire and sharp utensils, giving them an increased sense of responsibility over their own assigned duty.
Teach kids about cleanliness.
Parents are often hesitant to cook with children because of the mess they usually make. Mess is inevitable when children meet kitchens. To address this issue, parents can follow some guidelines and set rules inside the kitchen. Keep cleaning materials close by and instruct them to clean their work space while they cook.
Do not only teach the children the different recipes they can do with an ingredient, teach them how to cleanup bits and pieces of those ingredients as well.
Give a constructive feedback
When the meal is finished and you take a taste of the food you made with your child, sometimes the taste won’t be what you expected. In fact, you might find it hard to point out exactly what you have just tasted. In this case, you have to be careful with how you react towards it. Children are sensitive to the reaction of the older people around them, and are easily affected by them. This is also why younger children pick up on the eating habits of their elder siblings, avoiding the food that they have negative reactions towards. Constant praising for the good things the child does while cooking, like when they successfully mix a bowl of sauce, or when they mash their own potatoes, will help the child gain confidence in what they do, making them want to get back in the kitchen.
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Cooking doesn’t have to be a bad and boring experience. Make things fun by engaging the child in doing the things they like. However, despite the tips listed here, things always have a way of getting out of hand. Just remember to have fun, and enjoy the experience together.