Empowering your child to help out in the kitchen supports them to learn vital life skills while building self-confidence and a sense of responsibility. Here are some ways to support your child in the kitchen.
Go over the kitchen safety rules
Start with an age-appropriate explanation of what’s safe to do in the kitchen – and what isn’t. At the very least, ensure your child knows that they shouldn’t do anything without asking you first, and make it clear what could hurt them if they touch. This list of kitchen safety rules for kids is a good place to start.
Whether your child is excited to help in the kitchen or a little hesitant, start small. This may mean simply encouraging your child to sit in the kitchen and talk to you as you cook, or it may mean asking your child to choose the recipe for that night’s dinner. Then, look for ways for your child to do more of the kitchen tasks they are interested in.
Investigate recipes your child can help you with
Whether your child is a preschooler or school age, there are many recipes out there that they can help you with, such as English muffin pizzas and baked macaroni and cheese. As always, supervise your child and judge when it’s best to take over when it comes to knives and hot stoves and ovens.
Give them a task of their own
By putting your child “in charge” of a specific task, you can encourage a sense of pride and ownership over working in the kitchen. For example, your child can be in charge of washing the veggies, or hone their literacy skills by reading out recipes to you.
Investigate kid-friendly kitchen tools
You may be reluctant to hand your young child a kitchen knife to chop veggies, but there are kid-friendly kitchen tools available to help your child learn about these tools while remaining safe. One example is a set of plastic knives with non-slip handles for kids 4 years and up (with adult supervision).