Raising a Young Chef

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Children love to cook and serve meals for their family and friends. Many kids are fascinated with the idea of helping their parents or wanting to ‘do it themselves’ when it comes to preparing food. Don’t panic, but rather take advantage of this opportunity to educate your child. A child’s need for touch and exploration makes the kitchen fun and educational by creating the ability to boost their self-esteem. Taking advantage of this cooking interest will allow your child to become educated on fractions and measurements, and also learn patience and cooperation while cooking or baking.

Children love to feel a sense of independence. Allowing your child to explore the kitchen at a young age will make them feel important. If they are able to ‘do it themselves’ and see the results of their efforts they will feel a sense of accomplishment and you will have that ‘helper’ you need. Get excited and allow your child to see how different ingredients are divided, teach them the differences in degrees of hotness, and most of all let them be creative.

A good recipe to begin with is cookies. This is an easy recipe for them to complete and also provide a great result they will love. Your kid will be able to grease the pan, read the directions (depending on age), divide ingredients, pour, and mix. The more you are able to show creativity in your cooking, the more your child will do the same. So, throw in some cute cookie-cutters with lots of shapes. Let them get dirty but be sure they know about cleaning up when finished.

Do you have a picky kid? If so, children seem more likely to try new foods if they are involved in the preparation. Try a pizza! Next time you are at the grocery with your child, locate the small packets of pre-made pizza crusts (I recommend the Boboli brand) and have them choose the toppings. Buy the pizza crust, squeeze pizza sauce, shredded cheese, and pepperonis. Depending on your child’s liking you may also want to buy the precut green peppers, onions, pineapple, and much more. If you use a pineapple, make sure to core it with the best pineapple corer. “Make your own pizza night” will allow your child to stay creative by making funny faces with toppings. Invite a few of the neighborhood kids to join in on this afterschool snack. Pizza tastes even better when made with the best pizza oven.

Do yourself a favor, the next time your child asks to assist in the kitchen, let them! Let them use their imagination and creativity to have fun with food. Besides, this will only help them as they grow older and create relationships with others. Your child will grow into an adult that is able to provide decent meals for their friends and family enjoyment. Remember to be patient and focus on the fun your child is having. If the finished product isn’t perfect, your child will still feel a sense of accomplishment in seeing the final product. Be sure to keep it simple and not too complex for your child. Trust them. And most of all praise them.

While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!

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