We are gladly sharing this guest post with you today, written by Emily Patterson on behalf of Primrose Schools. Enjoy!
As a parent, we often find ourselves spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Although we might not realize it, our children might find this a desirable place to be as well. The delicious smells, loud noises and commotion coming from your kitchen make it a fascinating – yet dangerous – place for children to play. However, with this simple recipe for kitchen safety it can be a great way for families to gain extra time together while learning something as well, says Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of education at Primrose Day Care Facilities.
Dr. Zurn also says, “The kitchen is often the most popular place in the house for families to gather. It’s a place for learning and sharing, where the family can enjoy quality time. Children can also develop a sense of responsibility by participating in daily tasks.”
This simple recipe will provide as a guideline for parents and their children to follow for kitchen safety while learning:
- Set some ground rules. First, make sure you establish a set of ground rules and go over them with your child before you begin. One thing to remember, as a parent is to always you’re your child in sight- the kitchen can be a dangerous place. Teach children to wash their hands before and after handling food to avoid spreading germs. Discuss on a regular basis what’s safe to touch and what’s not. To keep hot liquids from spilling on the stove keep handles turned inward.
- Build up skills step-by-step. Basic, essential skills can be taught or practiced while in the kitchen. Such as, counting, following instructions and measuring. For more advanced skills however, start slowly and have your child master easy tasks before attempting harder ones. Older children can gradually be taught to use a knife. Start them off with a dull spreader, cutting softer items first such as butter or cream cheese. As their coordination develops your child can advance to cutting more dense items such as fruit or veggies with a plastic knife. Remember, this is a great accomplishment for your child, embrace it and celebrate it!
- Engage your child meaningfully. There are many tasks children can do independently. Simple jobs like mixing batter, rolling dough and measuring water can boost a child’s confidence and give them a sense of accomplishment. Rolling dough into balls, tearing bread into small pieces and cracking eggs also safe, satisfying tasks children can easily accomplish. Even very young children can get involved – give them some pots, pans and wooden spoons so they can pretend to cook with you or use them for music-making. The tuneful accompaniment will let you know they’re safely engaged and give them a way to feel like they’re helping too.
- Keep it fun. Make sure your child is always engaged in the cooking, and having fun doing so. Although the kitchen can be a dangerous place, with your supervision it can be the most exciting place to spend time with your child. As we all know, cooking and baking are messy enough even when the children aren’t around! So, if the cookie batter ends up on the floor instead of the baking sheet, oh well! Cleaning up can be just as fun!
- When your meal is complete, be sure to compliment your sous-chef on a job well done. Offer them the first taste of whatever you cooked together. Ask your child what they would like to make next time, maybe dessert instead of an appetizer. Bon appétit!
For over 25 years, Primrose Schools have helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early child care services and early childhood education. Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Emily has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.