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Share Your Love For Cooking

Choosing to involve children in the kitchen is an excellent way for parents to teach children lifelong skills.  In addition to lifelong skills, the basics of food preparation and cooking become a fond memory and bonding experience when shared with a loving parent.  A variety of jobs and child appropriate tools are available to children as they become more involved in the kitchen.

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Hand Washing

Proper hand washing is crucial to prevent food-borne illnesses and cross contamination.  Consequently, the CDC suggests that it takes 20 seconds to properly wash hands.  An enjoyable way to accomplish this is to wet hands, add soap, and rub hands together while singing a song that lasts for the recommended amount of time.   An abundance of short and well-known songs are available including "Row Your Boat" and "Happy Birthday”. Another exciting solution includes writing a family song or poem just for washing hands.

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Measuring

Believe it or not, allowing children to apply numbers in practical ways in their life can aid them in understanding mathematics for life.  A simple way to assist children in this is to lay out the ingredients in bowls, this can save time and create a clean working space. Use the proper standard of measurement to compare amounts with the child. This is simple to accomplish with a digital scale, which is designed to provide accurate results in ounces, grams, and pounds. To challenge their critical thinking by asking them to compare weight measurements between one cup of flour and one cup of water, which explores density and can introduce them to basic physical science.

Cracking Eggs

Two methods to teach children to use eggs in the kitchen include using raw or boiled eggs.  Cracking raw eggs into a bowl for scrambled eggs will have the potential of creating a mess. Since even adults find themselves digging eggshells out of their bowl, parents should prepare to spoon out the occasional eggshell.  If the child isn't ready for raw eggs, it's advisable to start with boiled eggs instead.  This allows children to practice their egg cracking skills without the hazards of salmonella and difficult to clean messes.

Cutting

This practice makes parents and grandparents nervous, however, it is vital for their own safety that children learn to cut their food properly.  Teach them to form a claw shape with their hand, which is the proper to protect their little fingers while cutting.  Start with a child friendly knife and something soft such as butter or your freshly peeled boiled eggs.  Graduate to a small, sharp knife that is the right size for their hands.

Child making salad

In conclusion, remember to invite children into the kitchen.  As they continue to grow, allow them to become more active in the kitchen and soon they may be able to cook meals with limited supervision. Their involvement will create sustainable memories and life lessons that they will carry forward to their children and loved ones. This special area in every family's home is a place of nourishment, learning, and love.