Every year over 100,000 people are injured in a kitchen related accident. This is why it is so important to start teaching your little ones how to be safe in the kitchen when they are young. It is also a valuable time to start showing them the basics of cookery, and the joy of food. Making cupcakes with Mommy is great fun, but also an opportunity to teach your children how to stay safe in the kitchen.
Children as young as one can be taught about the hot items in the kitchen, such as ovens, kettles, and toasters, using simple sign language, gestures, and noises. They might not have the language capacity yet to describe an item as being hot, but they can certainly understand that you shouldn’t go near or touch certain objects. As they get older, definitely around age 7, helping to prepare simple meals, such as baked beans on toast, or scrambled eggs will give them the opportunity to learn about using the cooker in a supervised environment. They will also take great pride in cooking their own dinners.
It is entirely irresponsible to give a small child a sharp knife, but there are plenty of ways you can start teaching them how to use and handle knives safely and carefully. Children can help with tasks like emptying the dishwasher from around the age of five. Show them how you would move a knife into the rack or drawer, by holding the handle, knife pointing downwards to the floor, away from the body. You can also teach them cutlery skills at this age – how to butter a cracker with a blunt butter knife. It will help them with fine motor skills too.
Cooking with the microwave
Many children have their first experience of cooking and baking independently using the microwave, for instance using easy recipes such as the chocolate mug cake. As soon as they are old enough to use the microwave – age 6 or 7, then you should discuss with them important safety aspects. For instance, never run the microwave when it’s empty. You should also never put anything metal or metallic in the microwave, for instance, forks, or aluminum foil. Show your children how to read the instructions carefully on a recipe or a packet.
Teaching kitchen safety can start when your little ones are really young. Use it as an opportunity to spend time together in the kitchen, enjoying cooking and baking.