Learning how to cook – even basic things like making soup and chopping vegetables, can set up your child for a lifetime of healthy eating. In addition, it can build their sense of daily accomplishment and self-worth by creating foods that they know and enjoy. However, encouraging kids to cook can be a difficult process, and is complicated due to the vast differences in development, though there are suggested cooking skills for each age. For the young children, safety and hygiene in the kitchen can be a serious issue. The best way to encourage cooking with this age is to get them an age-appropriate play food set. With older kids, they are often too busy with homework and after-school functions to spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen. Experts recommend the best time to teach kids to cook is between the ages of 7 and 12.
First, you can get your kid excited about the project by letting them help plan the meals and do the required shopping before you even step food in the kitchen. Then, you should choose an appropriate time to do the cooking – a part of the day where you are not rushed, and there is plenty of time to relax and enjoy the moment. For those younger kids, they might want to hang out with you in the kitchen while you cook, and they can even help you with the easier jobs, such as mashing an avocado. By the age of seven, a child is ready to start using proper kitchen tools, which helps them feel grownup and cool while cooking. Once they have been cooking, you can encourage them to develop a signature dish that they excel at making, and they can even experiment with the flavors. Be sure to stay nearby for trickier tasks, such as grilling meat, but do your best to interfere as little as possible. Finally, don't stress about the mess while you are cooking, just try to enjoy the creativity you are enjoying with you and your child.