Tips for grown-ups

Preparing and cooking healthy food is one of the most valuable life skills you can teach your kids, but kitchens can be dangerous places. Here’s a few ground rules to help ensure your 12 before 12 experience is a positive and safe one for the whole family.

1. Supervise
Before you start, talk with your child about the need for adult supervision in the kitchen and highlight some of the potential risks. Of special note, children under 12 should always be supervised when using sharp knives, electrical equipment or hot stovetops.

2. Pick a time
Establish when children are allowed to cook. Is there a particular time of the day or day of the week? Weekends or school holidays are great opportunities to practice because there’s often less pressure to get a meal on the table. Calm cooks are happy cooks!

3. Dishes and cleaning
Whoever makes a mess cleans it up. This includes taking the rubbish out! But try not to worry too much about mess along the way – it’s all part of the fun. Let children relax, feel comfortable and experiment in the kitchen.

4. Organisation
To ensure everyone in your house has a hassle-free and fun cooking experience it is important you cook in an organised manner. Ensure you have all of the ingredients and equipment you need before you start cooking. Have your child measure and weigh all of the ingredients before they start cooking.

5. Guide, don’t do
The level of support and guidance each child needs will ultimately depend on their age, physical ability, cooking experience and confidence. However, children need freedom to make mistakes and learn. Be there as a guide but give children time and space to think through decisions and challenge themselves. Hopefully one day soon you’ll have a handy helper at mealtimes who will share your love of cooking and eating healthy food!