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Teach kids to make meals as early as they’re willing to.
Cooking your own meals can seem overwhelming, especially if you have never done it before. Teaching kids how to cook early in their life will be extremely beneficial to them regardless of how much they really need to use the skill later on in life. Kids should learn to prepare meals at home, not after they’ve moved away.
Teaching a child to cook doesn’t have to be difficult. Your goal is not to turn your child into a chef. Instead, you simply want to help them understand how to make a few basic meals and ingredients. If they then choose to take it further with their meals, then that’s great for them but it should not be expected.
Have Them Help Mix Ingredients
From the youngest age, your kids can help to mix ingredients. Whether you are making bread, cookies, or a simple salad, your kids will generally be happy to help you mix. The younger they are, the more excited they’ll generally be about this. Don’t be afraid to let them dig in and help mix things up.
As your kids get older, you can begin to let them start to put the food in the pans or on to cook. While it’s generally best to wait until they’re around 8 or so to use the stove, you can certainly help them when you’re close by and let them flip things such as pancakes and other simple foods.
Let Them Make Pre-Made Meals
Once they’re about 8, your child should be able to start making simple pre-made meals such as macaroni and cheese or other boxed meals. They can get the water in the pan, put the macaroni in the water, stir it occasionally, and add the final ingredients at the end. While you should be close by in case of emergency, you shouldn’t really need to help much at all.
Moving from pre-made meals into basic meals is a pretty simple transition. The biggest difference here is that your child may need a little bit of additional direction as to what to cook. For example, cooking macaroni is the same. You can start the transition by adding some frozen vegetables, and some type of protein such as chicken.
Work On Cooking Protein
Meats will likely be the most difficult food to prepare for your kids. Whether cooking on the grill or in a pan, it’s going to take the most work for your kids to accomplish. Baked meats are generally the easiest to make. Baked chicken legs don’t take a lot of work and are actually quite tasty.
As your kids grow older and learn how to be safe while cooking, you can move to more food on the stove top that may pop up on them. Trying to fry food is one of the harder things for young kids as they don’t want to get burned by oil. Work on teaching them to keep lids close and to not overreact if something does pop while cooking.
Start teaching your kids how to prepare food at an early age. Let them participate in the food making process as soon as they’re ready, and teach them how to make more difficult foods as they grow older. Before you know it, they may be a better chef than you.