Cooks don’t cook with dirty hands
That should be a golden rule for every kitchen – all small (and large) hands need to be washed for at least 20 seconds before prepping food. This prevents you and others from getting sick by sharing germs. If you sing “Happy Birthday” twice while washing, you’re on the right track.
Dress properly before heading in
Does your child have long locks of hair? It’s time to tie it back into a ponytail to prevent their hair from falling into the food while prepping. Make sure they roll up their sleeves and wear close-toed shoes to prevent accidents while working with kitchen utensils like forks and knives. This also prevents any burns from hot foods. If you’re able, tie an apron on them to help keep their clothes clean.
Separate raw foods from cooked foods
Keep your raw foods separate from cooked foods – this applies especially to raw meats. If you’re preparing chicken and vegetables, you’ll need to keep the chicken in a separate container from the vegetables. You should also be sure to use separate cutting boards and utensils when handling raw and cooked foods. This helps to prevent cross contamination and others from getting sick.
Always wash your hands after handling raw foods
Remember to use the 20-second rule – this is to prevent food-borne illness.
No taste-testing without adult permission
Taste-testing is one the best parts of cooking, but it’s important for your child to ask permission before tasting any food. Foods like cookie dough and cake batter can make them sick from raw ingredients like eggs. If they use a utensil for taste-testing, make sure they use a separate one for stirring and plating.
Hands off the stove
Keep your child from getting burned by telling them that the stove is “hands-off”. This is especially important for smaller children – older children may be mature enough to handle certain items from the stove, but they’ll need your permission and supervision. Not only do you lower the risk of them getting burned but you also stop any accidental fires from breaking out should they adjust the stove’s settings.
Hands off knives
Keep young children away from knives and tell them that these are “hands off” as well. Children between the ages of 2 and 4 are less likely to be mature enough to properly hold a knife and may have an accident. If you have an older child who’s able to handle knives, have them:
Grip the handle firmlyHold the knife away from their bodyWalk (don’t run) while holding a knife