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#1 of 14 Old 04-15-2003, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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How old were you when you started cooking? ie- boiling water, putting the ingrediants in, (take mac and cheese for example), and then mixing the milk, cheese and butter together.

I was cooking by the time I was 5 yrs old. The only thing I couldn't do was drain the noodles, and that was just because I wasn't strong enough. By the age of 5, i was pretty self-sufficient.

Now that I am a mother, though, I just can't seem to let my dd cook, kwim? She's 6 yrs old, going to be 7 in May. She does know how to get her own drink, make a bowl of cereal, put cheese on crackers, basically anything that doesn't involve heat. I still make her toast.

When I asked my mom why she let me cook, her reply was that she had also cooked at that age and thought it was appropriate that a 5 yr old be able to cook. She has taught my dd how to make an egg and how to boil water, but I still can't seem to let her do that on her own, kwim? i don't let her, period. I told her she can do that with Gramma. I just get too nervous. So, do I need to work on this? I know she won't starve if i don't let her cook at this age, and I just don't see the point, other than it would give me a bit of a break. Like the two hours after supper and she is hungry for soup, then she would be able to make her own without me. I still wouldn't be able to leave the room, but maybe i could stop being a hawk, kwim?
What do you think?
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#2 of 14 Old 04-15-2003, 08:40 PM
 
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My kids love to cook... My 5 years old uses sharp kitchen knives, peelers, etc... The 9 year old can use the stove and oven as well as the microwave, things the 5 year old still gets supervision for.

I think cooking is an important skill to have, and most kids love to be included. If you aren't comfortable letting her near the stove, she can still help with prep work and dishing things up, getting things out of the refrigerator and stuff.

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#3 of 14 Old 04-15-2003, 08:53 PM
 
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Ds is almost 2, and he now likes to mix and "help" knead bread. It's a pain sometimes when I am in a hurry--he also loves to sweep, clean mirrors and wipe tables and these are all apins when I'm rushing--but I encourage him because I know I want him to help in the near future.

I think 5 is an OK age for heating things, and boiling eggs, and even toast. As long as you're not too far away, and she is encouraged to take her time and cook carefully (and clean it up afterward of course!). Of course, there are always kids who should start later--just like teens and driving, they aren't all ready at the same time.

I remember checking boiling potatoes, and certainly making toast, and doing a lot of the prep for Mom when I was 5.
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#4 of 14 Old 04-15-2003, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies. My dd says she wants to cook, so she must be ready. It's just me who is worried, nervous, etc.
My baby's growing up!
Maybe that is my fear. Once she is able to cook then the next step is getting a job and leaving home LOL! total self sufficiency and independance - but I guess that means I'm doing something right, right?
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#5 of 14 Old 04-16-2003, 01:00 PM
 
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I let my kids help in the kitchen but keep them away from the stovetop. A little girl in a friends preschool class died last year from burns suffered from boiling water. She was five. She was standing on a chair stirring cooking noodles when she slipped and grabbed at the pot of water.
Because I know this story I may be paranoid, but boiling liquids can be lethal.
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#6 of 14 Old 04-16-2003, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
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stillnominivan - thank you. That is my biggest fear, my dd getting hurt or worse.

So, maybe I should ask now, how do we prepare our children for cooking? What skills should they have in place before we put them near the stove/oven? How about fire safety skills?

I learned from watching my mother. She never sat me down and explained anything.
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#7 of 14 Old 04-19-2003, 02:52 AM
 
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One of my favorite childhood memories is when I was 5 and made dinner with my 3-year-old brother and 1-year-old sister.

I made baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese, Harley made Jello, and Ella made juice.

Dad was in the kitchen with us and occasionally gave instructions, but other than that we did it all ourselves. It was so much fun!
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#8 of 14 Old 04-19-2003, 04:02 AM
 
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Mine is only 15 months and doesn't help in the kitchen yet, but I know I was definatly cooking by the age of 5. I can remember the first batch of cupcakes I baked by myself was around 4 or 5...I can still remember standing on the bottom drawer so I could reach the countertop. (I can also remember that I hit the edge of the muffin tin with my elbow and launched the muffin batter into the drawer I was standing on and across the room. LOL). By the time I was 8, I was the cook for the family, and by the time I was 10 I could decide on a menu (my specialty was baked steak, real mashed potatoes, and chocolate pudding cake with graham cracker crust...all made from scratch), pack it up so it would stay hot/cold, and drive it out to the field to serve to my family. (family farm). BTW...I was the primary homemaker by that time during the summers when mom was working in the fields...pretty normal in that area.

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#9 of 14 Old 04-19-2003, 01:08 PM
 
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my boy is only 2 and i couldnt keep him away from cooking. he gets a lot of supervision, but he stirs, mixes, adds and scoops. all at the stove top. i am very glad that he cannot turn it on by himself, or else im sure he would be in htere b4 i knew it cooking dinner. he loves to cook eggs.

he knows things are hot, and he is very careful. i guess it depends on the personality (of baby and mom) when kids start cooking.
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#10 of 14 Old 04-21-2003, 09:14 PM
 
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We cook with dd-in fact, it is probably her most favorite thing to do in the house. I am a paranoid FREEAK at times about my kids safety, so I understand the cautious feelings! And, for that reason, don't let dd near the stove when I am boiling water-but she is able to do a lot otherwise. She can make pancakes from scratch,cakes,muffins,cookies,chicken dishes(loves to dip and bread chix) and loves to do prep work! She knows safe food handling skills as well as basic kitchen safety. She has been in the kitchen with me since she was a baby, and her level of interest and involvement has increased every month or so. She is now collecting kids cook books and loves to check new ones out from the library! The best thing about this is that we have learned in the kitchen together....until I became a mom, I had no interest in cooking....now we will watch a cooking show together and try to make the same food-or a similar version! If I were you, I would get some kids beginning cook books and read from page one-they all talk about food safety,etc and kids love them cuz they are geared towards them!!

Whew!

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#11 of 14 Old 04-21-2003, 09:33 PM
 
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I was about 6. dd is 6 1/2 but she will not be cooking for a while. She isn't a very observant person and often gets herself into trouble simply because she was distracted or not being careful enough. I know my lack of supervision caused a lot of accidents I wouldn't have made had I been better supervised. I would also have better habits today if they were taught to me.

Also we have a gas stove also and open flames just add a level of danger there.

they are allowed to peal veggies mix and measure etc Madeline is starting to use knives to cut stuff.m We will work up to the fire that sits right at hair level It has happened to me because i wasn't careful enough. how much more for a six year old.

Another thing is cooking is a priveledge arouynd here. until you can clean up after yourself you don't get to cook. And she has never once cleaned up after herself without a lot of prodding.

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#12 of 14 Old 04-21-2003, 09:34 PM
 
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I started cooking (baking mostly, although I had to cook dinner once a week) when I was 7 or 8. My oldest dd is 7 and is way into cooking. She cooks a lot and uses the stove and oven. She is a very cautious child, however, and if she wasn't I probably wouldn't let her. I don't generally supervise her unless I happen to be in the kitchen. Lately, she has made cookies all on her own. She makes puddings (in fact, she made violet pudding the other night with violets she collected from the yard). She's very into developing her own recipes which drives me nuts because they usually don't taste that great, but she's gotten alot better lately. A while back she told me, "Mom, that's how new recipes are developed, by not using one". I explained that sometimes it helps to know the basics, when eggs are necessary, etc. But she's improved. She and my 5 yr old use the microwave, but I monitor my 5 yr old. My 5 yr old really likes to help cook, but is happy doing it with me.

I think if your dd is wanting to cook on her own and is fairly responsible and careful, you should consider letting her do some things on her own. Figure out what you are comfortable with and see how it goes. I find it just evolves as they get experience and their own comfort level increases. Not that long ago, my 7 yr old was not allowed to turn on the stove if I wasn't in the kitchen, now she does, and it just kind of evolved.

Good luck finding your balance.

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#13 of 14 Old 04-21-2003, 09:41 PM
 
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I was making scones (tea biscuits) by 5, all but in and out of the oven. Other stuff followed pretty quickly, but dd is 8 and has only recently started doing stuff independently in there.
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#14 of 14 Old 04-21-2003, 11:38 PM
 
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I haven't seen anything about microwaves in any of the replies. Granted you probably don't want your child's head right beside the microwave while it's running, but I think most kids can be taught to safely use the microwave to cook mac and cheese and other simple foods.

My daughter is 2 1/2 and loves to help cook. She's one of those kids who is constantly in motion, so I don't let her stir a pot of boiling pasta, for example. She'd try to stand on one foot while stirring and dump the whole thing down her front or something : But she pulls a chair up to the counter and helps with mixing, pulls the chair up to the stove to watch whatever's going on at the stove top (and sometimes stirs if it's something "safe" like scrambled eggs), and pushes buttons to cook with the microwave. It is good for her self-esteem, and gives her a sense of ownership over our meals, too.
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