If you let your children help with the cooking, they will enjoy themselves enormously, but that's not all. It will also stimulate their curiosity about food and make them more open to a healthy and varied diet. Here are some guidelines you may want to follow:
- Learn about food: Involve your child in looking for an appropriate recipe and explain what the various ingredients are and where they come from.
- Take time: Give yourself plenty of time. Cooking too quickly increases the risk of an accident and will spoil your child's pleasure in the process.
- Preparation: Slowly go through the recipe with your child and set out all the ingredients and utensils you will need.
- Cleanliness: Don't forget about hygiene! Before you start to cook, wash your hands, tie your hair back, put on an apron, and be sure to use clean crockery and cutlery.
- Risks: Explain potential risks and never leave children – especially younger children – unsupervised.
- Share the work: Give your child a task that is right for its age. Pre-school children can wash fruit and vegetables, knead dough, peel bananas, stir sauces, put toppings on pizzas and flans, and decorate cakes. Later you can show them how to peel and cut up fruit and vegetables. Start with soft ingredients – pears would be good – and don't leave your child unsupervised.
- Stay with it: Use this opportunity to teach your child that even boring jobs have to be done and that he/she must complete the assigned task.
- Keep your head: Not everything's going to go smoothly right from the start. Keep calm and don't fly off the handle if something goes wrong. Encourage your child and tell him/her that it will definitely be better next time.
- Tidy up: Show your offspring that clearing up afterwards is also part of cooking and eating and give him/her some small chores to complete.
- React in the right way: If an accident occurs despite all your precautions, act quickly. Burns must be cooled and cuts must be bandaged immediately. If you're in any doubt, contact a doctor.