All credit goes to my wife. When our kids were (alarmingly) young, she started teaching them how to do things in the kitchen such as wielding a knife and using the stove. Not in an irresponsible manner, but not having grown up in such an environment myself, I found this unsettling.
Fast forward through the years and I’ve seen nothing but good come from this. They’ve probably cut themselves or burned themselves here and there but nothing serious or even memorable.
The benefits, however, are untold and far-reaching. My 11-yr old recently took up the culinary arts at a more advanced level and is doing stuff that’s beyond me, like baking sourdough bread, chocolate layer cake, “pancake-in-a-pan”, cookies, granola, etc.
Not only do we get to eat these delicious goodies, but also the kids display highly responsible behaviour in the kitchen, and I have to wonder if that would’ve been the case if we introduced them to cooking much later?
Then there are the countless opportunities to share in personal interest. We’re a family of food-lovers and we share conversations about food in a way that seems unlikely or impossible if the kids weren’t fluent in the language of the kitchen.
Especially in drastic times like we’ve all been experiencing lately, cooking at home—and including our kids in the activity—has been a much-needed saving grace.
Disclaimer: everyone is different. You’ll need to exercise your own good judgement about what is or isn’t appropriate and safe for you and your family.