6 Simple Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Cook
As a parent, you teach your children a lot of things throughout their lifetime. One seemingly monumentous task that you’ll someday have to tackle together is cooking. Preparing a meal is something that we all need to learn how to do at some point in our lives, so why not get started young?
If you’re ready to get your kids in the kitchen, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to help the process go smoothly. Here are six simple tips for teaching your kids to cook…
#1. Watch Cooking Shows Together
If you want to start teaching your kids to cook, you need to get them interested in it if they aren’t already. To do that, one great place to start is by watching cooking shows together. It introduces them to the world of cooking and shows them that they can be creative and have fun in the kitchen.
The Food Network actually has multiple shows that feature child competitors. They’re family-friendly, so you and your children can watch them together. By seeing other kids their age cooking and baking, it just might pique their interests enough to start cooking. Instead of watching cartoons, make it part of your family night to watch cooking shows together.
#2. Allow Your Kids to Choose the Recipes
It’s important that you make the process fun and exciting for your children. A simple way to do this is by allowing them to choose the recipes you create. Whether you’re preparing something for dinner or baking a sweet treat, they’ll be much more eager to create something they actually want to eat afterwards.
Go online and find a few kid-friendly recipes that are relatively easy to make. Present them to your children and allow them to pick which one they’re most interested in making. When they’re part of the process every step of the way, cooking is so much more enjoyable and rewarding for them. Plus, they’ll know that after their hard work is complete, they’ll have something delicious to eat that the whole family can enjoy.
#3. Teach Them the Basics First
When teaching your kids to cook, you obviously don’t want to dive into any advanced techniques right off the bat. You want to start small by teaching them all the basics first. This makes the process easier and you won’t risk overwhelming them with too much information.
What you decide to teach your kids in the beginning ultimately depends on their age. However, you can always get them started with proper kitchen etiquette. Remind them that it’s important to wash their hands with warm, soapy water before they handle any food to prevent the spreading of any bacteria.
Then, you can start teaching them how to prepare ingredients, such as washing fruits and vegetables. This type of task is ideal for children who are aged three to five. It’s something that’s easy for them to do, but still safe so there’s no risk of a kitchen accident involved. You can also get their help when it comes to mixing ingredients with a whisk or spoon. Younger children are sure to love this task, even if they do make a little bit of a mess!
For kids who are six and older, you can start having them tackle more advanced tasks. You can teach them how to peel vegetables and potatoes and how to break eggs. Another smart tip to teach children at this age is how to check the internal temperature of meat to ensure it’s safe to eat. That’s something that everyone needs to know, especially in the early stages of cooking.
Once you feel your child is ready, you can start having him or her use a small paring knife to cut up ingredients. Even if you feel your child is competent enough to do this on their own, you obviously still want to supervise everything.
Other tasks you can get your children involved in include:
Having these types of responsibilities just might help your children become more interested in cooking.
#4. Use a Meal Delivery Service
If you’re looking for a way to make cooking easier for both you and your kids, try using a meal delivery service. There are so many services that allow you to choose the recipes you want and then send you pre-portioned ingredients. To help you prepare your meal, you’ll receive a step-by-step recipe to follow along with. This is obviously great for your children to use in the kitchen!
Since many of those recipes include photos, it’s easier for kids to follow. They should have no trouble preparing the dishes you chose to make. And since all the ingredients are pre-portioned, there’s less prep work to do and there will be less food waste afterwards. That’s another great lesson to teach your children about when they’re in the kitchen.
Of course, you’ll still want to make sure you supervise your children every step of the way through this process. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn, but it’s also a chance for you to bond over a shared experience.
Our family’s favorite, that has also received rave reviews from friends I know, is Home Chef. They focus on sending meals that are both simple to make and extraordinarily delicious. Many of the recipes they’ve sent we’ve saved and made again as a family!
#5. Make Time for Cooking & Be Patient
Unfortunately, too many parents feel as though they don’t have time to spend in the kitchen to teach their children how to cook. However, deciding you want to teach your kids some important kitchen skills doesn’t mean it has to be a nightly thing. You can start cooking breakfast together on the weekends or dinner a few nights each week.
What’s most important is that you just get started and that you stick with it. Make it a priority to cook at least two meals per week with your children and increase that as their skills get better.
Remember that you also need to be patient during this time. It would obviously be quicker and easier if you cooked the meal yourself. Although, this is about being with your family and teaching your kids a valuable life skill. This is something they’re going to remember for years to come.
#6. Trust Your Child
By showing your children that you trust their abilities in the kitchen, they’re going to feel much more comfortable and confident in their skills. They’ll actually enjoy cooking more when they know you’ve given your approval.
To show your children you trust them, give them important tasks in the kitchen. This goes right back to the previous tip about teaching your kids the basics when you get them started. They’ll see just how important each of those small tasks are and they’ll feel good knowing you’ve trusted them to do those things.
Not only that, but you can support your kids by trusting their opinions. Cooking is all about having fun and experimenting. Although you’re likely to end up with a mess when all is said and done, you just have to embrace it and go with the flow. Don’t try to control the situation by cleaning up immediately after them.
Also, make sure you’re listening to your kids. Empower them to make their own decisions about the food they eat and they’ll learn to enjoy the process of cooking much more.