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Keeping Cooking with Kids Safe

Submitted on behalf of Primrose Schools: educational child care services making a remarkable difference in your child's education by Emily Patterson (@epatt1062)

If you want to spend more time with your kids, consider letting them help in the kitchen. Although the kitchen can be a dangerous place with all of the hot pans and pots full of boiling liquids, it also tends to fascinate small children, especially when it is full of the wonderful aromas of cooking.

Many families enjoy gathering in the kitchen, and it can be a great place to spend some quality time and help teach your children more about sharing and responsibility while they help you complete the small jobs that need to be done each day.

However, you need to take a few steps to make sure that the time your children spend in the kitchen is safe for them.

Cooking with kids – safety tip 1
Consider what jobs your child can do by herself. She will be so proud when she finishes a small job, whether it is stirring batter, measuring liquids or rolling out dough. Children can tear lettuce for salads, decorate cookies or cakes with sprinkles or add the grated Parmesan cheese to pasta. If your child is too young for even these simple tasks, let her pretend. Give her some utensils and pans and let her make some music or create a pretend dish to add to the meal. She will be happy to spend time with you and you will know she is safe since she is right near you. Just make sure to set her up with her cooking supplies out of your traffic path so you don't trip over her.

Cooking with kids – safety tip 2
To keep your children safe in the kitchen, make sure to go over the rules of what behavior is safe and what behavior is not. These ground rules can include things like which appliances and surfaces are safe for them to touch and that before and after they help you cook they need to scrub their hands to keep germs from spreading. Make sure you can always see your children, and that you keep all the handles on your pots and pans turned toward the back of the stove so the children don't accidentally bump them and spill the hot contents.

Cooking with kids – safety tip 3
Children can learn more complicated tasks if you start off by teaching them more basic skills and then build on these skills. Simple tasks include counting out items to get the number you need for recipes, and completing the steps of a recipe one at a time. When teaching children to use a knife, start off by giving them a plastic knife to cut up soft foods, then as they get better at it you can let them cut up harder foods, still with a plastic knife.

Even adults often make messes when cooking, so don't make a big deal out of small spills and messes that children make. Try to keep it fun while cleaning up the mess and finishing your cooking. Thank your child for the help, and let them taste the results. This can be a great way to get them to try new foods. See dozens of edible kids crafts…

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