Cooking or baking in the kitchen is a wonderful and educational activity you can do with your kids at home, especially during quarantine. It’s a great way to teach them new skills, get them engaged in other activities, and bond with and connect to them on a deeper level. Teaching your kid how to cook or bake is an essential skill that they can use all their lives, but be careful.
Kids can get hurt when working in the kitchen unsupervised, especially when they don’t know what they’re doing. So here are some kitchen safety pointers when you’re teaching your young one how to work the grill or the oven.
Make sure all appliances work well
Before you start, make sure that all the appliances you need — the stove, oven, microwave, what have you — are all working correctly. The last thing you need is for something to blow up in your or your child’s face right when you need it the most. Plug it in and test it out first to check if it’s working correctly.
Things like your stove and oven are essential assets in your kitchen but can be pretty dangerous when they’re malfunctioning. As soon as you detect even the slightest flaw, make sure to send it in for stove or oven repair as soon as possible to be on the safe side.
This is also an excellent opportunity to teach your child about appliance safety, how to handle appliances in general and what to look out for if they’re unsure if an appliance is working correctly. Show them how to work it but make sure they don’t move their faces or hair too close to the stovetop or oven. Demonstrate from a safe distance.
Wash your hands before handling food
This step has become all the more critical during the pandemic. Before handling any food items, ensure that your hands and your child’s hands are all washed and clean.
Make sure to use soap and be thorough. You don’t want to compromise on your family’s health and safety. Remind them to wash their hands every time they come inside the kitchen after doing something else, such as going to the bathroom, and after they use the kitchen as well, especially if they’ve been handling spicy food items. It’s always best to be safe than sorry.
Guide them when learning how to cut or chop
Teaching a child how to handle a knife can be a daunting process. Of course, you don’t want them to accidentally get hurt, but using a knife is a fundamental skill in the kitchen, and they should learn how to do it with an adult before attempting to do it themselves. Demonstrate how to do it first and go as slowly as you can. Then, help them to position their hands in the right way and guide their hands if you have to, so they can get a feel of what it’s like.
Start by giving them a small knife first, then slowly work your way up as soon as they’ve got the hang of it. You can find many kid-friendly starter knives in retail shops or online so that they can practice and minimize the risk of injury. And as always, adult supervision is necessary. And remember to have a first aid kit nearby just in case.
Warn against hot surfaces
Before you start cooking and especially during, make sure to warn your child about hot surfaces. As we all know, children are curious creatures and learn by using their senses, especially touch, smell, and taste. Before they accidentally hurt themselves by putting their hand on a boiling pot or over a fire, make sure to tell them and supervise them carefully.
If necessary, have them wear oven mitts before taking baking pans out of the oven or handling pots and pans. If something is boiling or frying, make sure they don’t dip their finger into the boiling water or oil and keep their face and hair away from the fire.
Follow a recipe
Teaching your kid to follow a recipe helps them to learn how essential reading and comprehension are. It also helps to have all the instructions laid out and explained in simple terms, so they know what to do without adult supervision. That’ll get them used to following recipes every time they cook and encourage them to do research and learn the fundamentals of cooking. Who knows, given time, they might even learn and make a few recipes of their own.
Teach but don’t be overbearing
It’s always a parent’s tendency to do everything for their child, especially if they’re still unable to do many things themselves. It’s important to teach your child all the basic skills they need in life as early as possible but don’t be overbearing about it. Learn when it’s best to step back and let them attempt things by themselves. Believe it or not, sometimes the best way to teach them something is not by simply demonstrating it but by making them do it alone. As they say, experience is the best teacher.
Sure, you’re going to worry that they will get hurt, but sometimes, pain is part of the learning process. As long as you make sure that they’re aware of all the safety guidelines before going into it, you can be sure that they’ll learn how to do any skill in no time with constant practice.
Teaching your kid how to work in the kitchen is a fundamental and enriching experience that they’re not like to forget anytime soon. Whatever plans you may have for them, teaching kids how to cook and bake is an essential skill that they need to survive. The sooner you teach them about kitchen safety, the more injuries and disasters you can prevent in the future.