Kids and cooking are two words that might freak a parent out when they hear them together! But did you know that taking part in cooking can actually boost a child’s intellectual skills? No? Well, now you do! Cooking is an essential life skill that we all need to become independent. It’s better to learn this skill earlier rather than late. Here are a few reasons why you should teach your kid how to cook! We’ve also added the necessary precautions you can take for your kids while cooking.
Why should kids get into cooking?
Despite how tiny they are, you should never underestimate a kid’s passion! Cooking is surely something that might not seem super safe for children, especially with a microwave, but it can spark their imagination. And who knows? Your kid might turn out to be the next master chef in a few years!
Don’t let that enthusiasm go away. Here are a few points to convince you why you should encourage your child’s passion for the kitchen!
1. Building confidence
Seeing their parent(s) workaround in the kitchen is quite admirable for kids. That’s why they tend to copy you all the time! Succeeding at doing what you usually do will help them feel independent. Plus, a little appreciation from your side will go a long way!
Encourage your kids to work around in the kitchen more. The confidence they’ll gain from their experience in the kitchen will help them have more faith in their abilities. Not only that, but they will also excel at other things once they know they can achieve the supposedly unachievable!
2. Family time
Teaching your child how to cook and guiding them through the process ensures family time. Many of us are too busy with chores to pay proper attention to our kids. Especially at the young age of below ten, children need to hang around their parents more to learn important life skills. Spending time in the kitchen is the perfect solution.
You might take a little extra time in the kitchen when cooking with your child but it is all worth it. Not only will your kid get to enjoy the art of cooking but he/she would also adore your company. Children want nothing but their parents’ approval, love, and appreciation. Cooking together can help them achieve all three of those!
3. Math skills
Cooking requires constant division, adjustments, and proportionality regarding the ingredients. Making such changes isn’t that easy, it even tends to boggle the adults’ minds at times! Therefore, if your child is exposed to such ingredient adjustments at a young age, he/she will find it easier to grasp math at a later stage.
Keeping all the ingredients in mind, adjusting the quantity of one ingredient based on the other needs intuitive skills. A little push in the right direction and your child will become a pro in no time!
4. Independence for the future
Learning an important life skill, such as cooking, at a younger age can do wonders. It is a fact that whatever a kid learns during their earlier stages of life, they’re bound to remember it for the rest of their life. Therefore, if they get exposed to cooking super early, they’ll probably be amazing at it once they grow up!
Cooking is an important survival skill, we all need to learn it. We cannot always rely on others to get us food or cook it for us. At some point, you’d have to cook for yourself. So, instead of thinking of it as a burden, teach your kid how to cook now!
5. No more junk food
Children tend to eat what they cook pretty often. We all have a soft spot for our creations, whether they turn it amazing or mediocre. Similarly, if kids cook in the kitchen, they’ll prefer eating what they make. This is a pretty decent way of getting some nutrients in them!
Kids, especially the little ones, get annoyed at the site of veggies. With how popular burgers, pizzas, cakes, and candies are, who’d enjoy a plate of veggies? Therefore, ask your children to help you out in the kitchen, tell them that their help means a lot to you and they’ve made the food extra yummy! A little white lie won’t hurt, would it?
6. Exposure to cuisines
Children usually eat whatever their parents usually cook for them, and make a fuss at new out-of-the-ordinary dishes. If you get them to help around the kitchen, trying out new dishes won’t be so bad. Knowing that they helped you make the new dish, they’ll be more prone to trying it out rather than rejecting it.
Just as we mentioned in the point above, children show more affinity to the food they help you cook. So, use this tactic to introduce them to new dishes and broaden their taste palate!
Now that we’re aware of why your child should learn cooking, how do you plan to teach your kid how to cook? Well, using a microwave to start off your child’s cooking career is the best option! Below are a few reasons why you should consider that.
Here’s a guide to the leading countertop convection microwaves that will help your kids and you bake wonderful cuisines faster and smoother than ever!
Why do microwaves and kids go together?
You can introduce your child to cooking with the safest kitchen appliance ever, the microwave. Not all kitchen appliances are scary! Unlike blenders, toasters, stoves, and ovens, microwaves are innocent. They come along with a set of pros over all the other appliances, making them completely child-friendly.
Here are a few reasons why you should let your kid work their way around a microwave. After all, microwaves are experts at being safe and quick!
1. Safe to use
Microwaves are an amazing alternative to stoves and ovens. Unlike the said two, microwaves do not induce any direct heat onto the user. Stoves provide external heat that you can easily come into contact with. Normal ovens usually need to be preheated before you place the dish inside. If not handled carefully, you may get pretty bad burns!
Microwaves, on the other hand, are completely safe in this regard. Initially, when you or your child, is putting the dish in, the microwave is completely normal to the touch. You might have to use a kitchen glove (and get a smaller one for your kid!) once you take the dish out but the initial steps are simple.
As for the biggest advantage, there is a protective screen/window between you and the dish. Through this window, your child won’t be exposed to any direct heat no matter how close they’re standing to the microwave. Plus, they would also get to enjoy the microwave in action, a live cooking view!
2. Quick results
Microwaves tend to cook food way faster than stoves and ovens. They work by heating up the water molecules within the food, using electromagnetic waves, to cook it thoroughly. This process allows for the food to be made pretty quickly. Unlike stoves and ovens that use conduction to heat up and cook food, microwaves utilize a more direct process.
Children are usually quite impatient. Especially when they’re waiting for the result of something they did. This applies to cooking as well! Microwaves are, therefore, the perfect solution to both your child’s passion and impatience. Within a few minutes, your kid can get a delicious dish ready to be devoured!
3. Easy to learn
The user interface of a microwave is very friendly. Most microwaves come with large buttons with images, text, and colors of different modes through which they are supposed to heat or cook the food. Not only that but the buttons are also distributed into categories by color and functionality with easy-to-read font.
When it comes to kids, this can be a huge pro! Children find it hard to comprehend small details and learn them quickly. With bigger fonts, images, and colors, microwaves become easier to operate for children. After only a couple of cooking sessions, children can immediately learn the said interface and easily use it.
4. One-time dishes
Dishes often require separate recipe component preparation. This refers to using different bowls and plates to create different parts of the dish that are eventually supposed to come together as one. This takes extra effort both during the cooking process and after it when you have to clean everything up. Microwaves offer an amazing solution to that by giving you a one-time cooking experience.
Considering that microwaves cook food super quickly, people have invented dishes that can be cooked all within a single bowl, and directly put into the microwave. This reduces the extra work of managing different recipe components, thus minimizing the distribution of your attention.
When working with a microwave, your child can just dump all the ingredients into a bowl or mug, place it into the microwave and voila, the dish will be ready. No hassle at all! Plus, this will not only help your child handle everything easily, but it will also make it super easy for you to teach your kid how to cook!
It is understandable for parents to worry when their kids get into cooking. The hot temperatures, sharp knives, glass containers, and everything can potentially be harmful. The following are some precautionary measures that you should definitely take before letting your kid get into cooking!
1. Get kitchen gloves
If you’re working with a microwave, you NEED to get hot gloves asap. Microwaves heat up the water particles inside the food to cook it up using radiation. Therefore, the container with freshly cooked food is bound to get hot as well. Just like a pan on a stove or a tray in the oven. So, you need to get hot gloves. Especially when you’re letting your child work with the microwave.
As an adult, you might be prone to the heat to some extent, but children have baby skin. We can’t risk our little kids getting their hands burnt! So, make sure to buy hot kitchen gloves before your child starts cooking with you.
2. Purchase microwave-safe utensils
Not all types of containers can be used inside a microwave! Some types of materials aren’t sturdy enough to survive in high temperatures. Especially when you’re cooking food, you’re exposing the utensils to almost 212 degrees Fahrenheit!
Many glass containers break if put in the microwave for longer than a minute. Similarly, iron containers cause sparks while plastic containers release toxic fumes. Therefore, special types of microwave-safe containers exist.
You need to be free of any tension like this while you teach your kid how to cook. So, you should invest in better utensils. The safer the utensil you use is, the less at risk your child is. To get more information on what types of containers you can and cannot use, check out our article: Best Microwave Oven Tips.
3. Let the food cool down
The microwave uses radiation to heat up the water molecules inside food to cook it. This means that the freshly cooked food you pull out of the microwave is at very high temperatures. You might use hot gloves to deal with the dish but you can’t just dig into the food!
Kids tend to get excited and jump at the sight of food. They’re not old enough to comprehend the idea of how hot the food is. Sometimes, we adults also make the mistake of diving into super-hot food and ending up with a burnt tongue. So, once you take the food out, make sure to stir it well. Let it rest for a few minutes before giving it to your child. Instruct him/her to blow on every bite they take!
4. Educate your children beforehand
It is common knowledge to instruct your child on the basic rules of the kitchen before letting them cook. But children don’t have a very sharp memory when it comes to rules. They soon forget the stuff you tell them, especially when they’re excited. So, keep on reminding them of all the dos and don’ts.
Better yet, make a chart. Pictorial information is super easy to grasp for kids! Make use of drawings and easy wording. You can even get your child to work on the chart with you! This will help them learn the rules by heart.
5. Invest in plastic knives
Knives are super sharp! They’re one of the most feared objects, especially when it comes to cooking. You can’t just let your child have their way with a knife. So, to combat the fear of knives and provide an easy solution for parents, plastic knives were introduced. These knives aren’t sharp enough to cut through the skin that easily, but they work like a charm when cutting food.
To satisfy your child’s natural desire to copy you in the kitchen, you can purchase a small set of plastic knives for them! Easy peasy. This way, you’ll find it easier to teach your kid how to cook, all the while keeping him/her safe.
Also, see this amazing budget-friendly microwave list by Specially Fried if you’re planning to buy a microwave on a budget!
6. Unplug the microwave when not in use
Always unplug any appliance if it isn’t currently in use. They are machines, no matter how insulated or smart they might be, they’re not human. Every disaster is a small mistake away.
If you have children working in the kitchen with you then you have to be extra careful. Children aren’t usually aware of such things and even if they are aware, they are more prone to having accidents. Therefore, always unplug or switch off your microwave when you aren’t using it.
Children should most definitely get into cooking at a younger age but don’t force them to do so! Coax them slowly and build their interest. Cooking is an essential skill that all of us should possess. So slowly introduce it to your child and follow the tips we gave above to reach your goal. And, make sure to teach your kid how to cook super well!
Learn from these tips and give cooking with your children a chance by trying out our top 15 best microwave recipes for kids!
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