Children love to play and help in the kitchen. Teaching your child to cook can be a terrific memory for both of you, as well as a valuable learning experience for him or her. But cooking can also be very hazardous. Kids need to know the rules right away. Here are some guidelines to help you keep your budding chef safe and healthy in the kitchen. Even the smallest helpers, aged 2 to 3, can learn safety rules if they are simple and repeated patiently as often as necessary.
Make sure long hair is tied back out of the way and sleeves are rolled up.
Children of any age can be taught to wash hands with warm water and soap before and after handling food. Teach them to avoid sneezing or coughing in the direction of the food.
Be clear about when it is okay to lick fingers and when it is not.
For younger children, let them know that stoves and ovens are absolutely OFF-LIMITS, as well as sharp objects such as knives, graters and food processors.
Have a step-stool in the kitchen for your child to stand on to reach counter height. Even very young children can wash fruits and vegetables, add ingredients to the bowl (that you have measured out for them), and stir.
Utensils should be large enough for a child to grip easily with their whole hand, but small enough for them to maneuver.
Do not let small kids help you cook anything on the stove or help while you use the mixer.
Teach kids to clean up messes and spills promptly when they cook. Spills on the floor become hazards for slipping. Counter messes are not only unattractive; they can make your work surface and utensils slippery, and they are a breeding ground for unwelcome bacteria. realize that cooking with kids is naturally a messy business. Keep your sense of humor.
As kids get older, they can take on more responsibility and can learn new skills in the kitchen. With these skills come new rules.
Do not ever stick anything in the bowl while the mixer is running, especially your fingers.
Once they are using the stove and oven, remind them to always use an oven mitt, and that microwaved containers may be quite hot.
When chopping, keep fingers of your holding hand tucked in to avoid the blade.
Always turn pot handles away from yourself on the stove.
Never plug in or use appliances with wet hands.
Cooking with kids should be fun. Use these safety guidelines to keep your little chefs safe.
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