3 Things That You Need to Teach Your Kids in the Kitchen
Kids love to help out at home and learn new things. They also enjoy being independent as they get older. Parents should encourage their children to learn how to do things around the house that are age appropriate, including how to do the dishes and how to make simple meals. These are skills kids will be able to use the rest of their lives, and with some supervision and guidance from parents, kids will have fun cooking and baking at home while staying safe.
- Food Safety
Kids love to dig in and help prepare food, but they don’t always stop to think about germs and bacteria. One of the first things you should teach your kids in the kitchen is food safety rules. They should wash their hands with warm, soapy water before they touch any food or utensils. Show them how to scrub between their fingers and under their fingernails and to sing the alphabet song to be sure they wash long enough.
This lesson naturally leads to the next lesson, which is to avoid licking fingers and utensils when cooking and baking. Remind them that it may be tempting to take a taste, but uncooked foods can harm them.
- Kitchen Safety
Sometimes, parents hesitate to teach kids how to cook and bake because the kitchen is full of potentially harmful items. But, teaching kids to be aware of their surroundings and to focus and pay attention will help them stay safe in the kitchen and help them see the kitchen as a place for they don’t have to fear.
First, show them how to turn on your oven and stove. If you have a gas range, teach them about the flow of gas and the open flame so they understand how it works and respects it. Teach them to keep items away from the open flame including hot pads and dish towels. It’s a good idea to create a kitchen safety checklist with your child and put it in a visible spot, such as on the refrigerator.
Even if you don’t have a gas range, you have the potential for a house fire to start in your kitchen if you don’t put safety first. Explain to your children that they should never leave cooking food unattended. Show them to open the oven door and look on the stove top for any items that could burn before turning on the oven or the stovetop. Remind them to keep flammable items at least three feet from the stove, hot plates, or countertop grills.
When your children are old enough, show them how to use a fire extinguisher. Of course, you should keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in a handy spot so you can deploy it quickly.
- Burn Prevention
You should work with your kids to help them take safety precautions to prevent burns in the kitchen. First, teach them always to use oven mitts to handle cooked food. Make it a point to tell them to assume that food and their cooking vessels are hot at all times. Next, show them to hold pot handles while stirring food to prevent the pot from slipping off the burner. Remind them never to add water to a pot with hot oil in it and never to leave pot handles turned in toward the kitchen, but to turn them back toward the rear of the stove.
Remind them that they should take all precautions to prevent burns, but that minor kitchen burns are common. Encourage your children to tell you immediately when they burn themselves; they need to tell you when they make a mistake and burn themselves so they don’t hide the burn or feel ashamed.
Should your child get a minor burn, hold the area under cool running water for 10-15 minutes or until the pain lessens. Another option is to hold a clean towel dampened with cool water on the area. Apply natural aloe vera gel to the burn and give your child an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary. If the burn develops large blisters, see a doctor. If the burn is more serious, call 911 or get medical assistance as quickly as possible.
Your children should know how to cook and bake so they can become self-sufficient and learn to be safe around potentially dangerous appliances and tools. If you explicitly teach your children food safety, kitchen safety, and burn prevention, they will be better equipped to use the kitchen safely and handle an emergency well.
Written by Daniel Sherwin