Being a mom with a kid who hangs around the kitchen while you prepare the family meal is not always easy. Let’s say you are at the stove and the milk to which you have to mix the pudding powder has just boiled and your child has decided to hang themselves around your leg. In the next second you lose your balance, your child is laughing out loud on the floor while you watch as the milk spills over the edge of the stove. Situations like this can be very dangerous for you and for your kid but then again it doesn’t have to. Cooking while your kid is in the kitchen doesn’t have to be dangerous and if you follow the advice given in this article it can be a safe and fun experience.
The child’s age determines which objects it may use in the kitchen and there are three basic levels of skills development for young children depending on age:
2-3 years – children can name and recognize things
3-5 years – children differentiate the quality and the type of things
4-6 years – children ordain, distribute processes with steps and understand.
Children 2-6 years
Through a game you can teach them to:
- identify the hot, heavy or sharp objects in the kitchen while preparing a meal: show what bubbles in the boiling water, sharp knives, scissors, broken bottle or glass and an open-tin look like how to avoid accidents with knives, hot pots and appliances;
- what they feel in their hands. For example, place a child’s hand on the warm, almost chilled oven’s door, or when you cook your favorite pasta with sufficient room between find out the warmth of the steam;
- which sounds are present in the kitchen. Listen to sounds of boiling water, hissing steam from a teapot, ticking clock on the stove, the sound of electric mixers and toasters …
Children aged 7-13 years
No one can be completely sure that the child is not going to hurt themselves in the kitchen, but, as the people say: Better safe than sorry, it is wise to do some advance security measures.
Sharp and blunt objects – sometimes we are wrong in thinking that only sharp things are dangerous to children but blunt knifes can hurt children too because they cannot yet control it.
Secure grip – if the child uses a knife, it is recommended that they use knife with rubber grips that prevent slippage.
Preparation is important – for safe cutting a firm and straight surface or cutting board is important. It would be good if an adult cuts the large pieces of vegetables and fruit into smaller and place them on a cutting board before the child begins to cut into small pieces.
Washing and drying of sharp objects – it is recommended that parents wash all sharp objects. Older child can wash knives, but alert them to wash them immediately and do not leave them in the water in the sink where it is not easily seen.
Kitchen items and the age of the child
The child’s age determines which kitchen items it can use:
7-10 years – show them how to peel fruit or vegetable with peeling knife by holding their hand in yours, warn them to never place the knife towards them but always away from them.
11 years and over – most kids that age are able to cut with a knife slightly softer vegetables like zucchini or peel cucumbers, fruits such as bananas, hard boiled eggs, cheese.
13 years and over – kids of that age are ready for new challenges and they can use larger knives. Do not forget to warn them in time to slow down and keep an eye on them because their growing confidence can lead to recklessness.
For each case, however, do not forget to show the kids where the first-aid kit is and essential supplies in it.
All the time while cooking interact with the child. Explain to him what you are doing, play with them, ask them if they know what it is and what will result from it, if they guess correctly reward them – even with a kiss – and praise them when they correctly answer or complete something. Cooking in this way will become fun, and you’ll spend quality time with your child which will also learn to love a very useful skill.