Single Dad Daniel Sherwin on Cooking with Kiddo's...
Daniel Sherwin is a single dad with two children and in his adventure of parenting has started to enlist them for help around the house, this includes in the kitchen. His daughter especially has taken to mastering the art of baking (so cool) and from this, Daniel has written an article on safety with children in the kitchen which we would like to share with you.
In the beginning…
While you littlest loves are still new to concocting their own cuisine, it’s important to make sure there is always an adult assistant close by. Let them “supervise” while you keep an eye on them. Then once they’ve master the basics and you feel comfortable with their food safety skills, allow them graduate to solo chef.
To prepare kids for the possible safety hazards of cooking, consider devising a set of kitchen ground rules. Keep this list in a visible location and ask kids to repeat the rules to you while you cook together. Younger children will benefit from a printed picture guide. Pinterest is a great resource if you don’t have the time (or skill) to draw a kid-friendly kitchen safety chart.
Solid safety rules to teach young chefs include:
- Use knives only with adult supervision
- Thoroughly wash cutting boards and surfaces that have been in contact with raw meat
- Always use a heat-resistant glove when reaching into the oven or moving a hot pan
- Keep electronics, such as tablets or hand held video game systems, away from the kitchen sink, dishwasher, and other water-using appliances
Easy peasy, child please-y
There are tons of easy-to-assemble snacks and meals for your coming-of-age cook. Some of our favorites include fruit parfaits, ants on a log, english muffin “pizzas,” and lunch meat hors d'oeuvres, the latter of which is our favorite recipe from Yummly. While there is very little actually cooking involved with these snacks, they are a wonderful introduction into the world of fine (or not-so-fine) cuisine.
Once your kids are comfortable with no-cook nibbles, they can move on to pasta, salads, and other simple main courses. They’ll learn by watching you and, someday soon, you’ll be able to delegate the dicing and slicing to their nimble little hands. Until that time, however, it’s your responsibility to keep them safe, so always take a quick run through the kitchen before strapping on your apron and involving the kids. Check for wet surfaces, hidden knives (such as in dirty dishwater), and that potentially harmful chemicals are well out of reach.
When you’ve been cooking for a long time, it’s easy to become impatient with your tiny kitchen intruders. But make sure to praise the kids for trying -- even when they miss the mark. Positive feedback will give them the confidence to try new things and, who knows, maybe bring you a homemade breakfast in bed. (Don’t forget to teach them to use the coffee maker!)
With proper training, your tiny tots will grow into fully functioning adults, at least where mealtime is concerned.
Have a budding chef in your house? Share your favorite kid-friendly recipes in the comments below.