Hi Friends! It’s Toria with the Step Stool Chef! The Step Stool Chef focuses on building kid leadership & confidence through cooking. My job is to make cooking with your kids… easy for you and empowering for them.
I have been cooking with my little chef since he was a toddler and I have learned that starting with clear safety guardrails makes the experience more enjoyable for us both. While I often have to remind him of some of the rules we set, he loves the moments when the tables are turned and he has to remind me! Setting clear safety guardrails is actually very empowering for kids because it gives them clear direction and builds self-discipline. In fact, it’s a great idea to establish the rules together. If kids are involved in helping to establish kitchen rules, they are more likely to remember and comply to the rules.
While cooking is fun, being safe is the most important ingredient to any successful dish. Here are a few Kitchen Safety Rules for Kids to get you started:
1. Always ask an adult’s permission before cooking in the kitchen
This may seem obvious at first, but as your kids get more comfortable and independent in the kitchen they will may forget to ask at times. I often hear my little chef rummaging around in the kitchen because he wants to surprise the family with one of his dishes. But as sweet as that sounds, I have to remind him that an adult has to be present to make sure that he stays safe even if he is doing all the work.
2. Wash Your Hands
Little hands often carry big germs. Clean hands are so important to food safety and should be the first step before touching any food or appliance. Just remind your little one what they have been touching and ask them if they want it in their food. This always gets an “eeewwww” in my home.
3. Clean As You Go
Cleaning spills and messes as you go will prevent slips and falls. Plus it makes it easier to have a clean kitchen at the end. Like we always say at the The Step Stool Chef “Remember Your ABCs: Always Be Cleaning”
4. Use a Potholder or Towel to Carry and Hold Hot Items
Trying to handle hot plates, pots or appliances can cause burns or you to drop food on the floor. Try getting a colorful towel or potholder that is just for them so they will be excited to use it.
5. Practice Good Knife Safety Tips
I taught my kids how to use a knife at a pretty early age. First, we started with plastic to-go knives at the toddler age then at the preschool and kindergarten years we upgraded to more kid friendly plastic knives. Now my 8 year old has graduated to kitchen and chef knives. I believe that teaching your kids the proper way to use a knife is more safe than teaching them to avoid it all together.
6. Ask Before You Lick
My kids like to lick EVERYTHING… plates, spoons, their fingers (even the countertops… don’t judge me). To make sure they don’t consume raw ingredients that can make them sick, let your kids know that they have to ask before they can lick.
7. Listen, Listen, Listen
This really should be rules number 1, 2 AND 3. Cooking with your kids is a great way to build listening skills and practice following directions. My kids get so excited to get started that that we often talk about “Listening Before You Act”. This is a great way to make sure they don’t harm themselves in moments of excitement because they touched something that may be hot, sharp or slippery .
Toria and her 8-year-old son are co-founders of The Step Stool Chef, dedicated to celebrating and inspiring kid independence in the kitchen. Love the idea of cooking with your kids? Click here to download their FREE e-book, “Top 10 Tips to Make Cooking with Kids Easier”.