Appropriate Cooking Age - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 01-03-2014, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can anyone tell me what age you started to let your kids cook their own meal in the microwave? Stove?  Also do you ever just cook for yourself and let your kids cook for themselves when they are hungry?

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#2 of 13 Old 01-04-2014, 05:58 AM
 
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DD2 is 7 and has been using the microwave for quite a while, well over a year, maybe two now. She can cook herself eggs on the stove if I am nearby, she asks for help if she needs it. My two girls, 11 and 7, cook for themselves often. My rule is that if you don't like what I cook that is fine, but you need to figure out what else to eat on your own. Hence the reason, DD2 learned how to cook eggs.

 

DD1 can make mac and cheese or something similar alone. I do in a pinch ask her to start dinner for me, preheat the oven and throw the already made casserole in or cook the noodles to go along with what is in the crockpot. We have 4 children so sometimes that changes the flavor, I can't always do everything for everything so when it is safe, they can learn how to do it themselves at times. 

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#3 of 13 Old 01-06-2014, 08:28 AM
 
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I remember using the microwave and stove at 6--when I was tall enough to reach both.
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#4 of 13 Old 01-06-2014, 03:07 PM
 
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My 8 year old made a ham, mashed potatoes, rolls and corn plus two desserts yesterday. My kids have always helped in the kitchen, but she really showed she's been oayig attention all this time!

Just now I offered to make her a grilled cheese and she was like "no thanks, I can make my own dinner". Ok then.
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#5 of 13 Old 01-06-2014, 03:18 PM
 
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My nearly 10 year old is allowed to use the panini maker and the microwave without supervision. She is allowed to use the stove if someone is nearby. My 13 year old is allowed to fully use the kitchen but the rule is she must stay in the kitchen until the meal is done so she doesn't get distracted and allow something to burn.


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#6 of 13 Old 01-07-2014, 09:40 AM
 
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My sons can all cook. The older two, 11 & 14 have been cooking for years and are allowed to do any type of cooking they'd like.  My 11yr old, especially likes to bake and often makes bread, cookies, cakes all by himself.  This summer he even treated us to a couple of souffles!  The 14yr old tends to be more absent minded so he has to be reminded not to leave the kitchen if he is cooking.  My youngest, at 8, is just starting to use the stove to cook.  He's been using the microwave for years.  In the last year, he's started making polenta or oatmeal on the stovetop.  Most recently he's begun making tortas (a thick corn tortilla) by himself.  The boys have always helped me in the kitchen and I cook everything from scratch due to food issues, so they've had lots of opportunities and reasons to learn.  They often cook for themselves - breakfast every day while I make their lunch; lunch on weekends and dinner occasionally.

I would suggest having them work with you first so they get the basics and understand safety, but really as soon as they seem capable enough to you, let them run with it.  Mine tend to like cooking a lot more when it's something they want to do rather than being asked to do something specifically.


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#7 of 13 Old 01-07-2014, 09:42 AM
 
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we are a family that cooks. i cant remember how old dd was when she operated the microwave. very young. before she started school. however we rarely use the microwave. mainly for heating. maybe once a week or so - if that.

 

dd used the knife when she was 6. i wish i had gotten over my fear and allowed her at 4. she was cooking on the stove top with supervision. she was making simple dinners. by 7 she was on her own unsupervised. baking, frying, steaming, etc. 

 

but it was only coz she knew what to do in an emergency. if she burnt herself. to date she has never burnt or cut herself and now she cooks big meals for guests with me as her sous chef at times. 

 

her favourite present at 6 was her own knife and apron. at that time her favorite show was alton brown. so she really was into cooking and really wanted to cook. 

 

its just the two of us so she really enjoyed cooking for us. even at 6 she loved putting things together. experimenting. looking up recipes online and trying them out. 


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#8 of 13 Old 01-07-2014, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for all the input. Now I'll feel less afraid of letting them learn their way around the kitchen.
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#9 of 13 Old 01-08-2014, 07:02 PM
 
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The Montessori school of thought has kids using knives at 3 or 4, maybe even younger. I can't bring myself to give my 4 year old a sharp knife, but he uses a pumpkin carving knife at school to cut carrots, apples, bell peppers, and other fruits and vegetables. As long as no one's going to end up in the emergency room, the younger the better, I say.


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#10 of 13 Old 01-09-2014, 06:57 PM
 
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My 4-year-old daughter is oddly fascinated by cooking. I’m hoping it will stick so that we’ll have a chef in the family. She always helps me when I cook, and she loves getting to put the ingredients in. She is actually almost capable of making pancake batter on her own (some troubles handling heavy flour bags aside). I was also of a fairly young age when I started cooking by myself, maybe 8 or so. Not exactly complicated dishes, but I never burned or cut myself.

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#11 of 13 Old 01-09-2014, 07:57 PM
 
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My 15 yo ds started using the microwave under 2 (about the same time he started doing laundry - he's still a weird kid 😃). He started really cooking at 4 or 5, and a real chef's knife and hat at 6ish, I think. Before that he was using our kitchen knives which are pretty sharp. He is now my go to guy for getting dinner started if I'm working late. His 17 year old brother can make Mac and cheese from scratch and his sister who will be 20 tomorrow can (sometimes) boil water 😉
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#12 of 13 Old 01-15-2014, 12:44 PM
 
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we don't have a microwave.  but that hasn't stopped my kids from cooking.

 

i was cooking from scratch (bread, pizza, meatloaf) from the age of 7.

 

my 5 year old can break eggs into our pancake batter (sourdough brown rice, i make it at night) and mix it up and cook pancakes on the stove.  usually i'm there, but i can walk in and out and do other things.  usually i finish it up b/c she's hungry and i let her sit and eat w/ the siblings while i finish the last 6 or so.

 

my kids want to do more in the kitchen- it's actually me who keeps saying slow down.... my son sweated some onions the other day and then mashed the refried beans in the hot skillet.  he's almost 8.  

 

i think knowing your kids and just doing it alongside them will give you a good idea if they can handle doing it.  i need help in my life, so having my kids be more independent is a plus for both of us.  also my kids all LOVE to start doing things to help out.  it seems like human nature to want to contribute and be able to accomplish satisfying tasks.  i am gonna roll w/ it as the kiddos show interest.


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#13 of 13 Old 03-16-2014, 05:58 PM
 
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Ds has been helping in the kitchen forever, but started cooking whole meals around 4.  He mostly makes stir fry - I make the rice for him in advance, he chops the veg, stir fries it, adds the rice in, adds sauce, etc.   He can do it all himself, he only needs help with the rice because he can't work the timer/figure out exactly when its done.  

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