Article submitted by Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools
There is something very fascinating to children about the kitchen. It's the place where home cooked meals and delicious cupcakes come from. The kitchen is like a magical place of make-believe to a child. Watching their parents cook leaves children with a desire to be just like Mommy and Daddy. Kitchen time can be a fun and valuable way to incorporate quality family time into your daily routine.
The kitchen is the center of your home and is the place where families gather to laugh and share memories. Also, to create new ones! Children develop a very deep sense of responsibility when they are allowed into the kitchen to help create something wonderful. This will prepare them for challenging situations when they enter a school or educational day care situation.
Keeping your children safe is very important when they are spending time in the kitchen. It is easy to keep the fun atmosphere in the room while also practicing important safety steps.
5 Steps for a Safe Kitchen
1. The first step is to supervise your child. You should never let your child cook by themselves or spend time in the kitchen alone. This is the most important step in kitchen safety to ensure that your child does not come to any harm while in the kitchen. It is also important to make sure they have a sturdy and safe stool to stand on. There are many child safe kitchen stools and stations available on the market today.
2. Make sure that your child always washes his or her hands before starting any cooking project. Explain to them that this is very important to keep from spreading germs into the food they are preparing. You can make hand washing fun by coming up with a catchy song or game.
3. Give your child simple yet meaningful tasks that they can perform easily. Mixing batter, rolling out dough or measuring and pouring liquids are great jobs to give your child that are easy and fun. Your child can also add the finishing touch on a meal by sprinkling parmesan onto pasta or adding sprinkles to sweets. If you are cooking vegetables, tearing lettuce and breaking open pea pods are also other good alternatives.
4. Stop disasters before they happen. Regularly discuss with your child what is safe to touch in the kitchen and what is not. If possible, keep hot pots and pans on the back burners of the stove. If you are using all of the burners on your stove, make sure to turn pot and pan handles towards the back of the stove. This helps to prevent the pots and pans from catching on clothing and being knocked to the floor. Young children should be kept away from the stove completely.
5. Keep the kitchen fun! Cooking is messy, with or without children. Don't stress over spills or messes. They can be easily cleaned up, especially if you turn clean up time into a game. It also teaches your child some extra responsibility if they have to clean up after themselves. Ignore the mishaps and praise your little sous chef for a job well done. Keeping the kitchen fun will have them begging to help you at meal time. Who knows, maybe someday you will have the next Rachael Ray or Emeril Lagasse on your hands!