- Bumps & Babies
- Kid Stuff
- Home & Garden
There are a few basic necessities required to survive in this world: food, water, shelter, fire and a good outlook on life. Arguably, learning how to cook is one of the most essential skills that you can spend your life perfecting. As a parent this is an invaluable gift that you give your child. These skills will last a lifetime.
Children learn by example and emulate what they see around them. As a parent it is important to lead by example and reinforce healthy eating habits. A child’s formative years are an important time, where life lessons are learnt. It is a crucial time to reinforce healthy eating habits by encouraging participation in the kitchen.
Understandably as a parent the thought of teaching a child to cook can be scary. There is no doubt that kitchens are dangerous. This is why it is critical to first educate children on the dangers of different equipment and appliances.
Cooking lessons can start as early as age 2. Always base lessons according to the child’s skill level. Children aged 2-5 need constant supervision and can assist with small jobs like help measure and mix ingredients. This is an important step to build confidence and familiarity in the kitchen, as well as a chance to learn and practice basic math skills.
For children aged 6-11 you can introduce small cutting tools. Start with a serrated steak knife. Educate children on the importance of knife safety and handling techniques. Make sure to:
Once a child feels comfortable in the kitchen the sky is the limit. Once children are contributing to meal preparation, odds are they will more likely eat their meal. At this stage, it may be beneficial to try and incorporate one new ingredient, spice, or herb once a day. This will help broaden their palate and challenge them to be open to new things.
It is never too early to start talking about healthy options, nutrition, recipe ideas, portions and balanced meals. Cooking will help support their health, encourage them to value food, inspire creativity, and self-sufficiency when they eventually leave home.