I think there are two main things to consider. First is the maturity level of the child. If they can understand all of the hazards and cook safely, I'd let them try under direct supervision until I'm sure they can do it safely. The other thing is whether or not they're tall enough to reach the stove without standing on any type of stool. A child can easily step wrong on a stool and end up falling onto hot burners.
I agree with sheila. It is mostly dependent on maturity and height. My 3 year old stirs, patties, and assists in cooking. My 10 year old can cook spaghetti to include dicing veggies and cooking both the meat and noodles. They, in my opinion, should start seeing the basics with help from an adult as soon as possible. Then as height and maturity permits they should be taught more than basics.
You can do it gradually. Have them make their own sandwiches/lunches and let them use the microwave and perhaps the grill occasionally. The best age is when they are in middle school (they are not exactly children though). Perhaps between the ages of 10-12 is the best and always with supervision
My oldest is almost 3, so he hasn't done too much experimenting in the kitchen. So far he has helped me make stir fry dishes and has also helped on numerous occasions with grinding herbs and mixing batter. If he seems to be ready, and interested, I will likely have him taking on more responsibility in the kitchen when he's 5 or 6.
I allow my daughter to cook qhen she was 12 years old, old enough to know the dangers and tall enough to see the wok
There are things to be considered about when to start letting children cook. As a professional teacher, maturity level and formation years are important aspects to put in mind. It is very evident nowadays that children are inquisitive and like to explore. Children undergo developmental stage which will determine their maturity that fits their environment. Likewise, formation years is essential because home and school are considered as their learning environment. Children should start from basic learning about cooking like positive attitudes and responsibility. For them, cooking is just play and fun most especially for preschool (as early as 2.5 years old).
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