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Cooking with Your Little Helper: Kitchen-Safety Tips for Kids

Photo by Gabrielle Lutze / Stocksy
Photo by Gabrielle Lutze / Stocksy

Kids belong in the kitchen. Working alongside adults, children can become proud participants in helping to bake a simple batch of oatmeal cookies or in preparing a whole holiday meal. Job No. 1 for parents when cooking with kids? Keeping them safe! To help your little helpers safely pour, stir, measure, and shake, follow these tips. Then get cooking!

 Kitchen-safety tips for kids!

  • It's always a good idea to have a conversation about the safety rules before you start.
  • Tie hair back.
  • Wear an apron. (Aprons not only protect clothes, they also add a layer of protection if something should spill.)
  • Wear snug-fitting clothes and shoes. Clothes that fit closer to the body will help ensure, say, a sleeve doesn't accidentally knock something of the counter. If something should fall, shoes help protect your little cook's feet.
  • Wash hands often. Teach your kids how to wash their hands properly: Use a good squirt of soap, and then lather and scrub while singing the ABCs. (If your child attends our centers, he should know how!)
  • Clear their work area. Keeping knives, raw foods, and other things out of reach allows you and your child the space to cook together more freely.
  • Take time to teach. One of the joys of cooking is showing kids how to use things like a garlic press, a hand mixer, and the like. If you’re using a knife, talk to your child about proper technique—even if she’s too young to use a knife herself.
  • Supervise, supervise. Stay in the kitchen with your child. If you have to leave the kitchen even for a moment, your child should go, too.
  • Keep pot handles turned to the back of the stove. Especially when multiple people are cooking together, handles sticking out over the stove’s edge can be easily knocked over.
  • Teach the art of cleaning as you go. Keep counter tops and work surfaces clean and dry.
  • Alas, you can’t lick the spoon. As tempting as it is, never taste uncooked food, especially if it contains un-pasteurized eggs. Even raw flour, it turns out, can contain pathogenic bacteria.
  • Don’t sweat the mess. They happen. Embrace them! They give you a chance to clean up the way you both cooked—as a team!
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