Bringing up a child is no mean feat, especially when you want him to grow up to be a responsible, caring as well as healthy individual. Simple endeavours can be made at home, to equip your toddler with essential life skills. For instance, you can get him involved in the kitchen and ask him to help with short and safe tasks. This will not only inculcate a sense of pride and responsibility, but your child will also learn to love healthy, natural foods. Plus, you will get to spend quality time with him and teach him about various nutrients, methods of food production and how to read nutrition labels. Needless to say, it will boost his creativity too.

However, remember that having toddlers in the kitchen means being extra careful about fire and sharp objects. This way, you can teach him about safety as well.

So, if you are keen on cooking with kids, follow these guidelines:

  • Encourage and not suppress his enthusiasm

    Start by giving him simple tasks like bringing vegetables from the refrigerator, setting the table, washing the vegetables, applying butter on bread, and so on. The work given should be as per his age and understanding, and something that even a preschooler can easily do. All of it might take a little time, but have patience, because the things he will learn will help him grow.

  • Give him choice

    Let him choose what he wants to do in the kitchen, unless it’s dangerous. For example, let him decide whether he wants to measure the ingredients or put masala in the pan. Eventually, you will boost his interest, and he will love finding out about the nutritional value of different foods, different flavours and textures.

  • Prepare simple foods and let him sample

    Children love to taste and eat the food that they are involved in making. So, it is the correct time to teach them about healthy foods and the benefits of eating home-cooked meals. Talk to them about the colour, texture, smell, shape and other features of each ingredient that they have used.

Wondering what are the age-appropriate cooking tasks for kids? It depends on your child’s interest, motor skills and pace of learning. Follow the above suggestions to encourage them though and they will gradually become capable of bigger tasks.

Why is it good to involve preschoolers in the kitchen?

Kids love to play and engage in different activities. But this does not mean that it has to be outdoor games only. There are a host of indoor activities that your preschooler can be enticed with, which can be educational too. Cooking is one such activity, and by involving them in it, you will get them to understand the fundamentals of cooking and healthy living. Some other benefits are:

  • Your child will develop an interest in food and its many kinds. He will become less fussy about new foods and will slowly understand the value of eating healthy, home-cooked foods.
  • Allowing your little chefs to lend their helping hands will open up a whole new exciting world for them. Cooking can boost your child’s creativity and help him develop many analytical and logical traits, like keeping count, taking measurements, and making decisions.
  • Cooking will allow them to develop behavioural skills like patience and tolerance too. They will become more receptive to others’ ideas and skill sets. These skills will assist them when they start going to school and start interacting with the outside world.
  • Conjuring food ideas will promote a sense of accomplishment and contribution in kids.
  • They will learn to make healthier food choices, which will go a long way in making them healthy and fit as adults.

Getting kids involved in the kitchen is a great way to impart valuable and practical knowledge about sharing, caring and healthy living. Remember that a kid's education begins at home, and by being active in the kitchen, he will learn about responsibility from a young age. Plus, it will make for fun bonding sessions for you and your child.

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