Kids get most attracted towards what their parents are doing during the initial years of their life. They generally spend most of the time with their mom and follow her where ever she goes. A mother of kids spends a lot of time in the kitchen, making meals for the whole family. The child observes the activity being carried on by his or her mother and tries to follow her.
Due to this desire of learning or doing what his mother is doing, the child will follow her and try to imitate what she does. To prevent the child from interfering with the cooking process mothers often give some utensils to the child to play with when she is working in the kitchen.
As the child grows up her curiosity of how to do what her mom is doing will increase. This is the time to associate her in the cooking process in a way that her interest remains and she is also fully safe when touching the gas stove or other elelectrical appliances.
Cooking is a learning process
When the learning process starts, you are also expected to be cooperative with the child so that she is not unnecessarily discouraged. It is anticipated that when the child will start doing something she will make mistakes and create a lot of mess in the kitchen. Do not expect the child to be as neat and clean as you are. If the child is taught to break an egg she may not crack the shell but may hit it hard and break it altogether. Do not be harsh with her as this will discourage her for next work.
Be polite & cooperative
It is also possible that she makes a mess of something, thus increasing your work. Politely explain to her and tell her to clean up. If you use harsh words it is quite possible that the child may revolt and refuse to do the cleaning work. Properly and gently guide the child and ask her to do the thing again and again. Slowly she will move towards perfection and improve her skill. Never forget to compliment the child for good work done by her, serve it when the whole family is eating together and appreciate what she has made when the whole family is at the dining table.
When your child has reached the age when she is able to do something on her own that is the time to start proper training. To begin with ask the child to prepare something which is easy to cook with least number of ingredients. The child will be able to complete cooking in the shortest possible time and will retain interest in cooking work. Do help her where ever needed. Give her an easy recipe to work upon and supervise while she collects and measures the ingredients. In the alternative you could split the work between yourself and the child. She can be told to complete the easier part of cooking something and you doing the main work.
There are certain tasks in the cooking process which need to be done properly and it is possible that the child may not be able to do them properly, though being easy. Washing before cooking could be one aspect. Though this sounds easy but needs proper care, even if a small particle of dust etc is left while washing it will spoil the whole show, this part of the work needs to be done by you.
Do not try to involve your kid in cooking work when you are in hurry and want to rush through things. It will be better to involve her on weekends. The child should be fresh and should have rested after she is back from school. If the child is tired or has a desire to do some other thing she will get frustrated. While you are giving final touches to the cooked food you can ask your young daughter to lay the table. She will be pleased to do this work as she will get appreciation from the whole family for the work done to help her mom.
Safety of the child is of prime importance. This aspect needs to be taught to her very carefully and properly. Before your child ventures into cooking, give her proper instructions about lighting of the gas stove, handling electrical appliances and also handling hot utensils or other objects. The foremost is teaching the child to handle sharp edged objects like knives etc. Teach the child about basic rules of working in the kitchen- the first rule being washing hands before starting the cooking process. In addition, properly ensure that the child knows that she is not to touch electrical appliance with wet hands or while standing on the floor bare foot.
Though these things may look difficult in the beginning but eventually you will find that the safety and cleanliness rules taught by you to your child will go a long way in her future life.