Categorized | Parenting, Parenting Tips

Cooking With Toddlers – Getting Them Started

Cooking with toddlers is fun and it is a wonderful gift any parent can share with their children. Here are some tips to help your toddler get started to an activity he will never forget.

Teach Proper Cooking Hygiene

Before anything else, you must teach your toddler proper cooking hygiene. That means - washing hands before and after cooking, pulling hair back, using a small apron to keep him clean and washing utensils and other cooking ingredients he will use beforehand. This is very crucial since cleanliness is an important part of preparing food. Plus, teaching him at a young age will help make it a lifetime habit.

Cover The Basics

Teach your toddler about the different cooking utensils in your kitchen. For instance, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, show him the 1 cup measurement.

Second, show him how to measure, pour, mix and follow a recipe. Do not worry if your toddler does not get it right at first. Just show him how it is done and guide him. With a little practice, he will perfect it.

Next, explain to your toddler different cooking terminologies. Blanch, braise, dredge, fold, rear and sauté are just some jargons that can make your toddler’s head spin. Define each word properly. You may use easier words, but mastering new words will help broaden his vocabulary.

Finally, make sure you screen your little one about kitchen safety such as never touching appliances when his hands are wet, playing with knives, placing his fingers in a pot of boiling water and so on to avoid accidents.

Give Your Toddler The Right Tools

Having tools his own size not only makes cooking more fun but it makes it easier for him to participate. You can buy kid-sized kitchen utensils such cups, spatula, cutting board, knife and the likes at department stores.

Prepare A Recipe Together

Save the casserole or braised lamb shanks for now and go for a recipe that is easy to prepare. Start cooking his favorites first. If he loves pancakes or spaghetti, then cook that together. Let him wash and measure the ingredients, stir and taste. Allowing your toddler to help you prepare a recipe from start to finish will make him better understand how things are made. Plus, he will truly feel happy and proud that he was able to accomplish a new task.

Keep It Fun

Cooking should be a fun task, not a daunting one. Let your little helper sprinkle cheese, squeeze lemons, crack eggs or create interesting shapes such as stars, moon, bear or animals using cookie cutters. Teach your toddler how to bake cookies or thaw frozen French fries using baking sheets (these are safe for children and easier to use in the kitchen).

Involve Your Toddler In Preparations and Cleanups

Assign him to set placemats, carry plates, spoons and forks and place napkins on the table. Let your little one help you clear the table, load the dishwasher or sweep the floor. This teaches your toddler that table preparation and cleaning up are part of the cooking process.

Teaching your toddler how to cook is not about teaching him to create restaurant-quality dishes, but giving him life-long skills that will boost your toddler’s self-esteem and independence.

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