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Cooking With Your Kids

alitria | Jan 5, 201809:08 AM     19

I thought I would ask here about cooking with my kids instead of a parenting board because I find many parents are not confident cooks themselves and give MUCH different answers to cooking questions than a group of confident cooks would give to the same question.

If you do cook with kids (or have) at what age have you allowed them to do certain tasks? I'm just old enough of a mom that I suspect what was appropriate for me might raise eyebrows and calls to CPS in the world of today. I was cooking simple things on my own by 7 or 8 and preparing full meals for my family at 10 simply because circumstances in my family meant it was necessary for me to help.

My son is five and a half and has been doing kitchen tasks with me since he was old enough to reach the counter on a stool. Currently, he has two years of experience with a set of Montessori knives and is pretty reliable about following the safety rules to use them. He also is only allowed to use them when I am in the kitchen and he has permission. He adds food to pots, is allowed to stir food at the stove with my supervision and does things like measure, mix, grate with a box grater and peel with a peeler.

He's now DESPERATE to begin cutting foods as part of the prep. I'm not opposed in theory if I'm right there with him, but I'm wondering if I'm being wildly unsafe? I thought it was reasonable to let my four year old cook scrambled eggs while I was standing six inches away from him observing and assisting but the social media comments on my proud photo sounded more like I had actually put him in the pan with the eggs instead of allowing him to push them around the pan with a spatula. In general, his fine motor skills are excellent and I've been strict enough about my policy that "if you break a safety rule in the kitchen you're out for the day, there are no second chances when it come to safety" that he doesn't play around much because he knows I am completely serious.

So tell me fellow cooks, at what age do you allow your kids to cut things with a real knife? I'm thinking cutting carrots for a soup or tomatoes for a salad rather than meat or anything tricky. And as long as I'm on the subject, when did/do you let them do other kitchen tasks?

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