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Even when they were very young (about 2), I started teaching my kids about cooking. They loved being able to help, even if it only meant stirring something. I started with simple things that would not be as messy if it flew out of the bowl, but I also used a bigger bowl to make it easier for them.
Then as they got a little older, they were able to help with bigger things. By age 10 to 12, they were well on their way to being good cooks. Never discourage them, that will take away their desire to help.
I made sure they understood that cooking could be fun but was also a quiet time. Then we always made sure we would sit together, and try out the items we made even if it was only Koolaid and a sandwich to begin with. That was a most special time.
You will never regret the time you spent with you little ones. It seems like they grow up so fast. So start them when they are very eager to help you.
By Bev from Longview, WA
Looking back I realize they were practising not just cooking but reading, weighing, measure and working together, things we never thought of at the time, and making precious memories too.
Let your children help prepare lunch or dinner. While you're fixing the meal they can put ice in the glasses, set the table, wash and tear lettuce or salad mix, place napkins on the table, etc.