For any parent, their child’s safety in the home is their number one priority. While the kitchen is the heart of many homes, it contains many dangers but that shouldn’t stop you from teaching your kids to cook. A recent study has revealed that individuals who were taught to cook as a child were healthier and ate less fast food a decade later. And, with the country currently tackling an obesity crisis, what better way to spend quality time with your children then to have fun in the kitchen while teaching them the dos and don’ts of the room?
We’ve put together some of the top safety tips for the kitchen to keep your kids out of harm’s way, from tots to the teen years.
Toddlers thrive off creativity and there’s no better way to use your imagination than by having fun in the kitchen. Play kitchens are a great way of teaching your toddler kitchen safety without putting them at any risk. You can teach them to wash vegetables and the importance of putting kitchen implements away when you’re finished with them, knowing your child will be having fun with role play and won’t be injured in the process. You can also get them to wash fresh produce in water to help them to understand food hygiene.
Once your child is out of the toddler stage, it’s time to help them become more hands-on in the kitchen. The most effective way to get them involved in learning safety tips is to choose a recipe together to make which they will have fun making and enjoy eating. Assist their hands with yours as they chop soft fruits and vegetables with a plastic or table knife and hold a cheese grater steady with one hand as you hold their hand to teach them how to grate cheese, carrots and similar products. Children should be encouraged to clean up after themselves too, so ensure they know to do this and are able to separate trash into general waste, compostable waste, and recycling and always check they wash their hands thoroughly afterward. This is a great opportunity to do some hands-on homeschooling.
Time to cook
By the time your child is around 10 years of age, you can teach them to safely use heat sources to cook and heat food. Start with something with minimal risk, such as the microwave and show your child how to safely heat food to the right temperature, check for heat spots and how to remove the item from the microwave to avoid scolding themselves. Standalone kitchen appliances, such as cupcake makers, pressure cookers, and slow cookers are ideal products for youngsters to use as they are easier to reach and everything can be prepared on one counter so there’s less risk of spilling something or tripping while holding a hot pan. Should an incident occur during cooking, ensure you immediately take action to treat the injury and seek professional medical assistance in severe scenarios.
On their own
As your child matures into a teenager, they’ll become more independent and will want to prepare their own meals and snacks in the kitchen. Ensure they wash their hands before any preparation, can demonstrate the importance of keeping produce such as meat and vegetables separate to avoid contamination and know basic first aid skills. As long as your teen has these skills and understands that corners shouldn’t be cut when they’re competent enough to be trusted alone in the kitchen.
Food safety in the kitchen should be the top priority for all parents. Toddlers are best off learning through creative play, while young children can learn to chop and grate fruit and vegetables with constant assistance from their guardian. Older children should be taught how to safely prepare and make meals so that by the time they’re a teen they can be trusted to go it alone in the kitchen.