Here’s a huge issue I see with parents allowing (or lack there of) their kids to cook.
One complaint/worry is its “too dangerous”. “What responsible parent would give their child a knife to wield?”
Well, every parent should, I say.
When? From the time they can use a plastic one.
Teaching kids to cook tip:
Confidence in the kitchen can start as a very young child. Supervising your child as s/he upgrades from butter knives to steak knives to larger santoku knives makes even an 8 year old a huge help with dinner prep.
Put in the time to be patient. Teach them their basic ABCs and they can learn to read. Give them food literacy skills including how to use utensils of various types and they will be able to cook a full meal by the time they are usually 10 or 12 years old.
Yes, this is absolutely possible.
But you don’t start teaching ABCs when they are 8 or 10 (and them being able to cook like Master Chef Junior). And you wouldn’t put your kids in charge of the hot oven or burners if they have never even had a chance to turn it on, or make a fresh salad.
So start small and work your way up to bigger and better. Think cooking not danger. This isn’t the day and age of getting skirts caught in an open fire. Things are way less dangerous especially with adult supervision.
That being said, cuts and burns can happen to the best chefs in the world (I remember seeing Chef Gordon Ramsey cutting himself on the Ellen show a few years back). (First aid kit is essential in every home. And what parent doesn’t have band aids in the house? Accidents happen. )
So be prepared to help your child gain confidence in the kitchen with your help or someone who can help teach … or learn together!
Dianne O’Shea at an OHEA conference gave a great thought along with the Six by Sixteen Challenge promoted by the Ontario Farmers Association (and I’m paraphrasing here):
We think it’s ok in our society to willingly give a child keys to a (potentially dangerous) car at the age of 16, so we should be able to expect them to cook on a hot stove in their own kitchen 6 basic meals from scratch.
I think it’s one of the most valid points raised.
Responsibility is earned by our growing children in order to have other privileges in life.
Maybe, we should hold our car keys back until they can cook a meal for us (or the family)?
Either way, I think making a salad then progressing to cooking on a stove is a good precursor to the huge detailed task of driving on public roads with so many things (and people) coming at them. I’d rather my kids make mistakes with me first in the kitchen before they take on the larger responsibility of a car that could affect everyone else on the road.
So start small and give them all those life skills that aren’t just common sense. One day they will cook for you as well as chauffeur you around. Both hopefully without you cringing at the thought.
Disclosure: My older child is still 4 years away from her beginners drivers licence. I will keep reporting updates. Let’s test out the theory using my guinea piggies. Real life test subjects.