If you have little ones that love to help in the kitchen then you probably know how awesome and terrifying it is to watch them cook. I love that Avery, Brooks, and Ryder are showing an interest but it’s also really scary to watch them using things like knives and turning on the stove. Here are 5 tips to keep your kids safe in the kitchen.
At this point in my kids’ culinary careers, I am always with them in the kitchen. No one is using a knife or turning on the stove without me. When your kids are ready for unsupervised cooking, there’s a whole other set of rules you want to introduce, but these are just the basics for supervised cooking.
- This seems so basic but you would be surprised how often your kids should be washing their hands not just before cooking but also during. You want to teach them to prevent their germs spreading to the entire family — and it also protects them.
- First, you want to make sure that the counter is at waist-level with the kids so they can see what they’re cutting. You can definitely use a stool if needed. When your kids get older they will learn proper knife grip technique. I’ve actually shown my kids how to do it the “correct” way, but honestly, at this point, I’m more concerned that just making sure they’re totally safe. As long as they’re comfortable and not doing anything dangerous like keeping their fingers too close to the blade I don’t interfere. I figure that anything that’s too awkward for them is more likely to result in mishaps.
- Avery and Brooks usually use a bear claw curling their non-knife-holding fingers under to hold what they’re chopping and protect their fingertips. Sometimes they use a knife finger guard for extra protection. And food should always be laid flat.
- In terms of what knives I use, Ryder really just uses a plastic eating utensil and I encourage him to keep his other hand behind his back.
- Brooks is my most avid chef, so I actually got him a set of knives last year for his birthday along with a finger guard, and he’s been getting a lot of confidence from using this and I think he’s about ready to graduate. Ryder, of course, wants to be just like his big brother so he’s been using that special knife to cut play dough as practice.
- Finally, Avery is super cautious but I trust her to use a real knife but I’m also always watching.
Clean As You Go
- This is both a health and safety issue. My kids love to tell me that they will clean their mess up later, but how likely is it that they’ll actually remember there was raw egg on the counter or that someone spilled something on the floor?
Ask Before You Taste
- It is so tempting to lick the spoon of the cookie dough batter, but don’t do it. Food-born illnesses like salmonella are such a serious issue and so not worth it. Get your kids in the habit of asking before they taste.
- For things they are allowed to taste like pasta sauce, have them use a separate tasting spoon. This way they can learn to season but keep their germs from touching others.
- Next to using a knife, seeing your kids turn on the stove is one of the most terrifying parts of cooking. I recently taught Brooks how to make scrambled eggs including turning on the stove although I’m always right there. He uses a pot holder for any handles and he’s also not allowed to cook anything that could possibly splatter.
- You also want to make sure that turning off the stove is hammered home as a crucial safety tip. We all know how distracted kids can get when they’re proud and hungry.
I hope these tips are ones you can implement into your own home! Happy cooking!
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