It’s fun, isn’t it? Teaching your children how to mix, add ingredients, whip up a pie.

Cleaning up the spilled flour, watching as your three-year-old sticks both hands in raw dough, making sure he doesn’t poke the running mixer with a metal spoon – those are true adventures.

Take a few tips from someone who was a young kitchen helper, and is now the head chef.

1. Don’t be in a hurry. I know, I know. You have lots to do, and a limited number of hours. But if you’re in hurry mode, you won’t have the patience to help your child along in the cooking process – defeating the purpose of giving him a great kitchen education.

2. Choose an appropriate recipe. Trying to put together a ┬ásimmering stove top dish that a three-year old can’t touch isn’t the right recipe to make with a child. He’ll get frustrated, and you’ll spend your time tense as you try to keep little fingers from getting burned.

3. Make sure there are tasks they can do. Shaking in spices, dumping in dry ingredients, stirring – these are all cooking jobs a child can do. Yes, there will be mess.

4. Let them taste. If you are concerned about germs, or you are making the dish for another family, teach them about the Crime of The Double-Dip. But make it possible for a little testing. It’s part of the process.


photo credit: Flickr photo by JustyCinMD