“Kids In The Kitchen: How To Have Fun And Stay Safe” by Alex Robbins of Safety Today was reviewed by a QACP member parent during Fall 2017. QA Co-op’s Internal Communications Team wanted to share what she had to say…”this is an incredibly useful article to put in perspective all the *help* your kiddo may want to offer us as parents, especially during the holiday season! From what would be appropriate expectations to ensuring food safety and household logistics, Mr. Robbins has provided a great plan.”
Working in the kitchen can be an invaluable experience for kids; not only does it help boost their self-confidence, it teaches them responsibility as well as skills they can apply in math and science. By making your time in the kitchen a fun way to learn, you’re allowing your children to use their creativity and gain real-world experience that will stick with them for a lifetime.
It’s important to be prepared before starting any projects behind the stove, however; your child will need to understand all safety rules and be well-practiced with the tools you’ll be using in order to prevent any accidents. You should also think about teaching your child what to do in the event of an emergency so they’ll be prepared. While no one likes to think about these things happening, it’s always a good idea to know how to handle anything that comes your way, and the same goes for kids.
Here’s how you can keep your family safe in the kitchen and have fun at the same time.
Practice fire safety
Fire safety should always be a priority, especially if you have a gas stove with an open flame. Keep at least one fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is and how to use it. Practice fire drills that include what to do if clothing ignites and where to exit the house in case of an emergency; designate a meeting spot, such as the mailbox, for all family members in case you’re separated. For some helpful tips on how to create a more kid-friendly kitchen, read on here.
Talk to your kids about never leaving pot holders or towels near the stove, tying long hair back, and keeping loose-fitting clothing away from hot areas (aprons can help with this). Practice the steps of cooking and baking and include turning off all appliances before leaving the kitchen.
Look for age-appropriate ideas
Kids as young as 3 years old can help out in the kitchen as long as safety precautions are taken. Look for age-appropriate recipes and give your little one a specific job, such as crushing homemade breadcrumbs or stirring batter. Talk to them about never touching knives or other sharp instruments and let them know that the stove/oven is off limits.
It’s always helpful to be prepared before beginning any project in the kitchen, and that means making sure your tools are clean and handy and that you have everything you’ll need within arm’s reach. Set out your ingredients, measuring cups, bowls, and anything else you’ll need and double check the recipe before you get started, just to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Teach your kids to do this, too, as being unprepared can lead to accidents or even a disastrous dish.
Talk about cleanliness
Keeping your hands and work station clean are very important parts of working in the kitchen, so teach your kids about keeping things tidy and making sure their hands are germ-free. Go over hand-washing rules (have them sing the alphabet while they’re scrubbing to make sure they’re doing it long enough) and stress the importance of cleaning up when the cooking or baking is done. Check out this checklist to make sure you’re covered.
Spending time in the kitchen is a wonderful way for kids to bond with their parents or grandparents, and one of the great things about it is that it can be done at any time of the year, doesn’t cost a lot of money, and will keep your little ones entertained for hours. With some safety precautions in place, you and your loved ones can make some lasting memories.
Mr. Alex Robbins is the father of three lively boys. He considers home safety to be a number one priority and is part of the wonderful team at Safety Today, a community of parents and professionals promoting safety in the home and the community.