How to Teach Your Child to Cook
It’s a skill that’s an asset at any point of your life; no matter your age, no matter your sex, and no matter your station in life, knowing how to cook is always a big advantage. And although it’s never too late to pick up cooking skills, it helps if you start early.
- Get your child interested in cooking by allowing them to help you around the kitchen. Instead of shooing them out, allow them to watch what you do before they graduate to washing veggies, fetching ingredients for you, cutting out shapes with cookie cutters, and icing cakes.
- Once they’re old enough to understand what safety means and why they should try to stay safe in the kitchen, teach them how to operate the stove and oven correctly. Show them how to protect themselves from fire accidents and what to do in case of accidental spills and mishaps.
- If they’re able to handle a knife, teach them how to cut vegetables safely without nicking themselves. Also show them the right way to store knifes that are not being used and the safe way to clean sharp objects like knives and blender blades.
- Teach them how to maintain a clean kitchen – this means clearing the countertop of clutter, keeping out only the things that are necessary, washing dishes as soon as you’re done with them, and wiping down surfaces to keep them hygienic and sparkling clean.
- Once these peripheral aspects have been taken care of, get down to the nitty-gritty of cooking with a few lessons in the basics of the craft – how to make scrambled eggs and toast, how to put together a quick and nutritious salad, how to make wholesome meals from canned goods, how to use what’s on hand to make a filling sandwich, and so on. These are the skills that will come in handy when your child goes camping or goes off to college.
- Encourage them to try out their newfound skills by following recipes to make one dish for dinner or any other meal – supervise them but let them do their own thing. And no matter how the dish turns out, support them in their efforts to learn cooking.
- Once your kids get this far, their natural interest in cooking should take over and they start to experiment with their own recipes or make their own meals even when you’re not around. And even if they’re not really too keen on cooking every day, at least they’ve learned the basics needed to survive in the kitchen.
When you teach your children how to cook, you teach them self-sufficiency and responsibility – they’re able to live on a budget because they can make their own food; their health does not suffer because they’re forced to eat greasy and unhealthy junk food while in college or living alone and working a job; and they don’t have to rely on anyone else for delicious, wholesome and nutritious home-cooked meals.