I’m pleased to welcome Tilda Moore as a guest blogger today! Check out all her info below!
Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat right? Do they regard vegetables as a kind of culinary time-out? Did you know that teaching kids to cook is one of the most effective ways to get them to appreciate healthy foods? Cooking teaches self-sufficiency and gives children a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. It’s also a good way to get some help around the house during a busy week. Cooking is a self-empowering lifetime skill that teaches kids about nutrition and personal responsibility in a part of the house where serious injuries can quickly occur if you’re not paying careful attention.
Safety’s the thing
Kids need to learn that safety is the number one rule in the kitchen, and teaching them to cook is the best way to get that lesson across. It starts with bacteria prevention and keeping one’s hands clean with soap and hot water. That’s a must if you’re going to be handling food and the tools used in food preparation. Make sure that long hair is pulled back and held in place to prevent it falling into the food, catching on fire around the stove, or getting caught in a mixer. Countertop space is a major culprit when it comes to the spread of dangerous bacteria, so make sure your kids understand the importance of keeping food-prep space clean and germ free.
No fingers or double dipping
That means no sticking fingers into food to see if it’s ready to eat and no licking utensils and sticking them back in, thereby assuring the spread of germs. Correctly preparing food is one of the most important lessons you can teach. Stress the importance of following recipes to the letter and cooking food at the proper temperature to make sure it isn’t underdone. Undercooked dishes, especially meats, are a recipe for all kinds of health problems, from bacteria to parasites. Explain that keeping food refrigerated is an important way to prevent spoilage. Always make sure that an adult is on hand to supervise when children are using the kitchen.
Utensils and kitchen tools
The presence of so many sharp tools and electric appliances is one very good reason why an adult should always supervise in the kitchen. It can be tempting for a child to pick up a sharp knife and try to slice an onion or pepper just the way mom and dad do it. Spend some time demonstrating to your children why knives are so dangerous and why using proper technique is important. Demonstrate how to cut away from your hands using a cutting board and show why they should always hand someone a knife with the handle pointing toward them. If you’re nervous about teaching your kids using real knives, begin with plastic knives instead.
Youngsters often overlook the importance of washing off vegetables and fruit before cooking. Bacteria can live on the outside of food items that have rinds, which are not eaten. However, cutting through an unwashed rind or surface area can transfer dangerous bacteria to the inner parts, which can easily make everyone sick. Point out the key features of appliance safety and that food processors, mixers, and other tools should be kept unplugged when not being used.
Your kitchen needs to be childproofed so that you’re prepared for any contingency. Accidents can happen at any time, and you never know what kind of damage or injury may result. Show your kids how to operate a fire extinguisher and what to do if someone gets cut. Keep sharp knives well out of reach of children. Incorporating safety lessons as you teach your kids about cooking is an excellent way to set a good example for kitchen protocol. Always make sure an adult is on hand, and demonstrate what to do if the unexpected should occur.
Tilda Moore researches and writes about educational resources for Open Educators. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information.