After Christmas is over, many families take some time to relax and recover from all the shopping, traveling, and partying and vow not to take on anything else for a while. However, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Easter are all waiting around the corner, begging for treats to be made and fancy dinners to be cooked. There’s nothing better than allowing your children to be a part of the celebrations by letting them get their hands dirty in the kitchen, but it’s important to make sure they know all the rules of safety beforehand.
The key is to cater the rules to your child’s age. Older kids can likely use a can opener or knife, while younger kids will be better at stirring and pouring. If you have more than one child, give them different jobs according to their age and ability, and go over the rules before they begin any project. Supervision is also crucial, because even the most careful child can still have an accident in a room with appliances and sharp tools.
Here are a few tips on how to keep your child safe in the kitchen during holiday baking and cooking.
Ingrain the importance of good planning
Along with following directions, your child should know the importance of having a good plan before cooking anything. Talk about which tools to gather and why it’s a good idea to have them all together before the action starts; plan the meal according to the recipe, which should be laid out where it’s easy to read; and be prepared for anything, including accidents or injury.
Prepare the kitchen
Before your kids begin their cooking project, it’s important to make sure the kitchen is prepared by cleaning off countertops, wiping down the stove, and installing a fire extinguisher that will be easy to access in case of emergency. For more tips on preventing kitchen fires, read on here.
Give them healthy options
It’s imperative for kids to learn the importance of eating healthy, so give them the best options from the start by heading to the Bossier City Farmer’s Market, where you can find tons of fresh fruit, seasonal veggies, and jams and jellies that will enhance any special meal.
Go over the rules
You should go over the rules of the kitchen every time your child cooks, not just the first time. If more than one person is in the kitchen at the same time, make sure everyone knows their job and that they are familiar and comfortable with the rules. These might include: pulling hair back, wearing form-fitting clothing or an apron, washing hands often, how to avoid cross-contamination, and knowing who is in charge of the stove.
Give younger kids their own utensils
Little ones may not have the motor skills necessary for using grown-up utensils, so consider buying a set of rubber cooking tools made just for little hands. This will help them feel special and will increase their excitement about being able to cook and bake.
Teaching your children how to stay safe in the kitchen will stick with them for a lifetime and will give you peace of mind, not just now, but when they get older and move out on their own. Go over safety rules and talk about the best ways to stay on task, since it’s important not to mess around when there are hot appliances and sharp tools nearby. This means staying focused, paying attention to the other people in the room, and knowing when to ask for help when it’s necessary.