Little Helpers in the Kitchen
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Little Helper

The kitchen can be a fascinating place to start children off with eating well. Preparing and cooking tasty and nutritious food with your child is a great way to bond with them. This is a wonderful time where you can teach your child about the types of food and healthy eating. Besides that, involving your child in food preparation and engaging him in the cooking process encourages him to be more adventurous when it comes to exploring and trying out new foods. Studies found that children who are exposed to healthy foods in the kitchen are more likely to eat those foods.

So, let your child go in the kitchen! Below are some ways to let your child be a little chef by lending a hand in the kitchen. Bear in mind that you should assign the tasks according to his age and ability. If you have more than one child, you can assign them different tasks then rotate tasks so each child can share the experience equally. Keep an eye on your child when he is helping out in the kitchen.

Preparation:

  • Get your child to help you stock groceries after shopping and retrieve ingredients from the fridge for meal preparation.
  • Allow your child to help you wash fruits and vegetables in the sink. This task is usually considered appropriate for children aged 4 years and above.
  • Get your child to help you read out the recipes.
  • Teach your child how to measure the ingredients, for example when you are making a cake, you can teach your child how to measure milk or weigh flour and sugar.
  • Allow him to spread or layer ingredients, such as butter, cheese, chocolate chips and others in a pan before baking.
  • Let your child add and mix ingredients, for example add sliced carrots and tomato into the salad bowl and toss together.
  • Assign your child to open packages or peel certain ingredients such as lettuce, bananas, oranges and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Make sure your child is old enough to safely handle certain items such as sharp knives and grater or otherwise assign them to cut out items using a plastic cookie cutter.
  • Get your child to clear the dining table in preparation for serving. Count out the appropriate number of forks and spoons for all family members and then place them on the table.

Cooking:

  • Asking your child to help you gather cooking utensils and put them away when you finish using them. In this way, he will learn what utensils are required and how to use them.
  • Let him set the timer and give updates on how much time is left.
  • Let your child taste the food as you cook. Get them to identify the flavours and ask them what they think such as whether the dish is too salty or sweet.
  • Show your child how to make simple meals on their own that do not require cooking, for instance sandwiches, vegetable or fruit salads.
  • You child will enjoy decorating the dishes, for example decorate the sandwiches into a smiley face, shape dough into star or love shapes.

After meal:

  • After a meal, ask your child to help out with the cleaning up and washing the dishes. Assign your child to wipe the dinning table and allow him to throw food and kitchen waste into the dustbin.
  • Remind your child to be careful if he is helping to wash glass plates or cups.

Kids cannot be counted on to be neat in the kitchen. Hence, be prepared for a mess, a little extra time cleaning up and supervision. Be patient and do not cook in a hurry. Give plenty of time for your child to enjoy the whole food preparation process. Supervise your child's activities, even when they are doing a simple safe task. Last but not least, praise your little assistant chef on a job well done. Cook together with your child, cultivate your child's interest in healthy food!

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