- I would recommend weighing the ingredients out beforehand into separate bowls that they can easily lift and tip out
- The main areas to focus on are the names of different ingredients, describe their textures / smells / tastes etc
- Don’t get too hung up on the quality of the final product, you want it to be theirs…which is perfect enough 😉
- If they loose interest, that too is fine, either come back to it later if possible or finish it off for them.
- Keep hazardous tools / equipment out of reach or use safe alternatives where possible. Plastic knives can slice soft fruit / vegetables easily or hands are great tools for tearing up ingredients such as lettuce, mangetout. Otherwise, where a recipe calls for fine dicing or grating, it is safest to do this yourself beforehand.
- Begin with the basics of food safety and hygiene. Get your little one to wash their hands in a bowl of lukewarm soapy water and put on an apron before cooking. Then give them a damp cloth to “help” you clean up afterwards.
Tips for a fussy eater
- A great trick i learned which helped my daughter immensely is “kiss it, lick it, taste it”.
If there was a food she flat out refused to try (there were lots, believe me) then we started off encouraging her to “kiss” the food. If she did that, then we really praised her and told her how great that was (she got a sticker, or occasionally a chocolate button for doing it – but shhhh bribes aren’t generally encouraged, however my daughter would do almost anything for a sticker or chocolate!).
Once she would confidently kiss the food then we moved onto “licking” it and rewarding in the same way. Then finally we moved onto the “tasting” stage. You have to be patient with this, just the kissing it stage could take a week, or more!! But this method 99% worked with my daughter!
- From 5yrs + they can usually start to help you with the weighing, but don’t get too hung up on exact numbers at this age – keep it fun!!
- Start introducing some more descriptive words for the qualities of ingredients
Flour is dry, powdery, light, airy
Butter is greasy, fatty, creamy, rich
Apples are sweet, crunchy, sharp, fresh, juicy, firm
- Discuss where the ingredients you are using come from, you could even tie this in with a visit to a dairy farm / fruit farm etc if you’re feeling very adventurous!
- Begin to gradually introduce more tools / equipment when you feel your child is ready. Obviously always use caution and always supervise your child. There are some great kid friendly knives / graters / peelers available to buy on Amazon (and elsewhere) which can help to get you get started.
- Always keep good safety and hygiene practices. Ensure your child washes their hands and wears an apron before cooking. Include them in the washing up afterwards too (even if you have to do it again later when they aren’t looking!!) This will all help set good standards for life.