The home kitchen is where everyone’s culinary journey begins.
I recall my first time in my mother’s kitchen as a child. All the shiny pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils were right where I could reach them, and it’s from here that my life-long culinary journey began!
The moment you decide that it’s time to teach your kids to cook is when your little chef starts their adventure, and your home kitchen is where the magic happens!
To get them started, your little one will need an operational base. While your home kitchen is probably perfectly suited to meet your needs—it may need a few adjustments to make it a safe and convenient environment for your kids to start cooking in.
Making your kitchen kid-friendly is simple! In this post, I’ll be taking you through a few tricks I’ve learned that can make your kitchen the ideal cooking space for your kids :)
Keep the space clean and well-lit
A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen (for both you and your kids).
The first step to prepare the kitchen for your kids is to make sure it’s a clean and safe environment.
Keep all the utensils and surfaces they’ll be using clean, and make sure the space is well-lit so it’s easier for them to navigate and pay attention.
Introducing your child to a clean kitchen teaches them the importance of maintaining a hygienic environment for their food. It will also encourage them to clean up after themselves and leave the space just as spotless as they found it.
Make sure everything they need is accessible
The next step to making your kitchen kid-friendly is making sure everything is in the right place, and within your child’s reach, so you can avoid any mishaps.
Check that any knives they’ll be using are sharp and kept in a place where your little ones can access them carefully. If your kids are still too young or if you’re not comfortable with them handling sharp objects—place the knives out of their reach. This makes it easier for you to supervise them while they learn to wield these important kitchen tools.
Back when I started cooking with my son, he’d always leave his utensils in random places in the kitchen and have trouble finding them later!
Kids can get distracted/excited while in the kitchen and forget where they leave their utensils. Try creating a drawer in your kitchen where your kids can keep all their tools and access them whenever they need to.
Make sure you also teach them to always put things back where they found them. Whether this is their tools back in the drawer or making sure they close the fridge, the little things add up to make a much more confident chef!
When everything is in the right place, your child will feel more comfortable navigating the space while cooking.
Always have a good set of potholders!
The kitchen is home to many hot surfaces that you definitely don’t want your kids to come in contact with.
Thankfully, a nice, dry set of potholders can help you ward off kitchen burns and accidents.
Teach them to always use the potholders when they want to pick up something hot and make sure they never use the potholder when it’s wet—wet potholders will conduct more heat!
Take a good look to ensure that your pots are in good shape before your kids use them. You can even invest in some covers for your handles. This way, your pots will always have a safe spot for your kids to grip.
If your kids are nervous about handling hot pots and pans, demonstrate it for them and show them how potholders can keep them safe.
Last but not least, don’t forget to teach your little ones to always turn off the stove and oven before they leave the kitchen. It’ll definitely take some of the I-left-the-stove-on stress off of you!
Have the right cutting board ready
If your child is old enough and you’re comfortable with them using knives—it’s time to invest in a sturdy cutting board.
A good kids’ cutting board will make a great and affordable gift for your little one! Make sure the board is the right size for your child to handle easily, and that it does not slip while they are cutting.
I recommend placing the board on a small towel to give it more traction on your kitchen counter.
Make sure your child can reach the counter
If your child is too small to reach the counter, get them a small stool to stand on.
Pick a stool tall enough so that your little one can reach over the counter safely and comfortably without having to stretch too far.
I recommend using a stool with rubberized feet to prevent any slipping.
Adjust the water temperature in your kitchen
Your child will be using a lot of water during the cooking process and while cleaning up. Adjusting your water to a safe and comfortable temperature will prevent any accidents from happening.
You can also teach your child how to set the right temperature themselves by mixing hot and cold water. This way, they’ll always be mindful of the temperature while handling the kitchen sink (potholders won’t help them here, unfortunately).
The area near the sink is susceptible to splashes, so I like to place a rubber mat on the ground to avoid slipping.
While we’re on the subject of sink etiquette—when it’s time for clean-up, teach your little ones how to wash their utensils without wasting too much water. It’s easy on your bills and it’s an important lesson in water conservation for the future generation :)
Cleaning up may not be the most exciting task, but you can make it more fun with some music, sponges that are colorful or cut into fun shapes, or even a dish soap dispenser with strategically fun stickers on it! These little touches can turn any chore into a game (I speak from experience).
Your kitchen is now ready for adventure!
Now that your kitchen is ready and waiting for your kids—it’s time to take on a new cooking project and make way for many more!
Before founding Bake Austin, Pascal Simon earned her degree as a Pastry Chef from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. A mother of two, Pascal is passionate about cultivating the next generation of bakers and welcomes children from all schooling backgrounds, whether public, private or homeschooled.