When you hear someone say that they can’t cook, know that the main reason for this is their lack of cooking experience growing up. They believe that the chef is born already knowing how to magically mix recipes into delicious concoctions for everyone to enjoy. By exposing your children to cooking at an early age, you can give them the experience they need to be confident in the kitchen.

Set at least one day a month as “cooking with the little ones day.” You get to engage your children or younger siblings and encourage family bonding at the same time. Have them invite friends to participate, of course, as long as their parents agree.

First, take the kids grocery shopping and ask them to help you choose what they would like to eat. Thus you can gather the necessary ingredients to make such recipe. Try to keep it simple and relatively safe, basically something they can make themselves with less supervision as they grow older.

Second, figure out which kids are good at what kind of cooking. Some are bakers, while others are fryers. Maybe this can be done with some trial and error, or you could just ask them what they would rather do.

Teach cooking safety without sounding preachy or condescending. Remember that the point here is to encourage the kids to appreciate cooking, not to get them to do the work for you. Start with simple tasks. Show them how to handle hot pans, how to cut safely, how to handle raw meats, and basic emergency first aid.

Then, make sure the kids are having fun. Make the event a challenge. You can either split the duties or have teams do the same recipe and reorganize them each session. Encourage creativity by adding a theme to keep the cook-off interesting. Keep a positive happy environment where the kids have fun. Ask them if they would like to play some of their favorite music in the background (hopefully you can deal with it!) Like this they will feel like they are participating and will be more at ease. Be hands on with the kids and have them doing the work whenever possible

With some practice, you can make it into a hobby for you and the children. Encourage trying new foods by having a one bite minimum or by mixing them with things they already like. Before you know it, they will be begging to join you in the kitchen and you will witness an explosion in their creativity and a love for making their own food.

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