How to Teach Your Child Basic Cooking Skills

What is the one skill that will be useful—even neces­sary—to your child all of his or her life? Not the ability to throw a touchdown pass. Not the ability to score a perfect grade on a math test. Not the ability to match accessories to a dress. No, it’s the ability to prepare food!

Knowing simple cooking skills can build a child’s con­fidence, and assure the child that he or she can handle a degree of independence.

What does a child need to know?

In this day and age, cooking techniques can be rather simple. A child needs to

  • know how to open a can and heat its contents in a pan on a stove.
  • learn to boil eggs, cook boil-in-the-bag meals, and prepare frozen vegetables.
  • know how to microwave a prepared meal.
  • know how to measure with measuring cups and spoons, how to read a recipe.
  • know how to turn on an oven (and set its tempera­ture), how to turn on range-top burners, and how to avoid getting burned.
  • know how to operate a mixer, a toaster, and a blender.
  • know how to choose fruits, vegetables, and meats for quality and freshness.
  • know how to wash dishes, set a table, and scrub and peel fruits and vegetables.

Most of these things your child will learn easily and quickly, if you will let your child watch you and work with you as you shop and prepare meals.

Be willing to let your child make a mess, break an egg or two, and get a little flour on the kitchen floor.

Begin by giving your child simple things to do. Then give your child more and more to do as he or she be­comes adept with kitchen tools. Encourage your teen to have a “famous recipe” or two that are all his or her own. One man I know taught his son what he consid­ered to be the three essentials of domestic life: how to wash his clothes, how to iron a shirt, and how to make chili! Give your teenager the satisfaction of preparing an entire meal from time to time.

Even a very young child can help set the table, clear dishes, and scrub vegetables with a vegetable brush.

Again, self-confidence is rooted in a child’s percep­tion that he or she has abilities and is capable of re­sponding adequately in a given situation. Give your child confidence in the kitchen. Give your children the assurance that they’ll be able to fix a meal for themselves.

Filed Under: Family & Relationships


About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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