5 Ways to Raise a Kid Who Feels Confident in the Kitchen
Here are simple ways to boost kids’ interest in food, desire for adventure and appreciation for what goes on in the kitchen.
Make kitchen time bonding time.
Why: Because cooking is a social experience. Talk to your child about the aspects of food that kids find interesting, such as food trucks, food shows, gadgets, social-media chefs, all-star chefs and how much you value your child’s input, insight and creativity in the kitchen.
Your child gains: The satisfaction of knowing their opinions are valued. Also, from watching you, your child will have an up-close look at the tools and culinary skills they are about to master.
Visit roadside stands and farmers markets.
Why: It’s the most outdoorsy way to get kids interested in fresh food. Visiting local farmers helps your kids understand sourcing, distribution, quality vs. convenience as well as learn about the huge health benefits linked to farm-to-table eating and eating foods in season.
Your child gains: A chance to buy fresh fruits and vegetable, the opportunity to learn how to select the freshest produce, ask questions and sample products.
Use sharp knives.
Why: Because sharp knives get the job done better and faster, and by age 8 many kids can safely handle them with supervision. When kids learn to handle sharp tools correctly, kitchen tools are actually safer than those with duller blades, where more elbow grease is necessary for cutting and slicing.
Your child gains: Something to aspire to (after years and years of practice), and a bunch of new skills, such as using a cutting board and general kitchen knife safety.
Hand over age-appropriate tasks.
Why: Most kids are ready and eager to take on kitchen jobs a lot earlier than you think. A kindergarten child can help you measure and pour liquid and dry ingredients, whisk eggs, frost cupcakes, whip cream and use a hand mixer, a can opener and a garlic press. Older kids can slice fruit, trim veggies, operate timers, use thermometers, measure, make toast and use a griddle and other kitchen appliances.
Your child gains: Confidence in the use of kitchen tools, math practice (counting, measuring, adding, reducing), and following written directions.
Set aside time for fruit-based drinks.
Why: With the right (read: kid-friendly) ingredients, fruit-based drinks are great fun for kids to make, using fresh fruit purees or squeezed juice; a sparkling mixer like ginger ale, tonic, or club soda; simple syrup; and a garnish like mint leaves or berries. Measuring cups and tall spoons for mixing will help kids make drinks that are consistent.
Your child gains: A big high five for knowing how to add sophisticated touches to casual dining and family get-togethers. Plus, extra points for decorating drinks with fun straws, toothpicks, cocktail umbrellas and anything else he likes to boost the cute factor.
Try these 6 simple eating tips for raising a real foodie under your roof!