POPSUGAR Celebrity

Cooking With Kids — the Safe Way

Jul 12 2013 - 12:37pm

Most kids know not to run with scissors, but basic kitchen safety is another story. By trade, Mark Estee is a successful chef and restaurant owner (his restaurant Campo [1] was one of Esquire magazine's best new restaurants of 2012), but his most important job is being father to two young boys.

Mark loves to cook with his kids, so we thought he'd be the perfect person to share some expert advice on how to ensure that bringing your little ones into the kitchen is a safe and fun experience for all. Click through to see six smart tips for cooking with kids — sans stress!

Source: Thinkstock [2]

Use Your Hands, Not Your Knives

"I always try to get my sons to use their hands when helping. This way I don't have to worry about them getting hurt. This also builds a connection to what they are making."

Keep It Fun

"I have had my boys at the restaurant helping before; we get wild and crazy. I think they both got a little worried when some employees started getting super stressed. Keep the environment light and fun; if you're calm, they will be calm. Put on music and dance around the kitchen."

Mark is shown here with his 8-year-old son, Owen.

Put Down Distractions

"The first time I let my oldest son cook an egg, he burnt his hand and then proceeded to tell the world I was answering a call instead of watching him. Bottom line: this is family time; pay attention."

Make It a Family Affair

"Cook breakfast or dinner for Mommy! This way the kids have fun and Daddy gets some love; everyone wins."

Teach Them Safety and Sanitation

"Maybe I take it too seriously because I run a restaurant, but I believe it's never too early to learn that safety is the most important part of cooking. Tell your kids why you are washing your hands and changing cutting boards."

Let Them Do It

"Let go and let them do it! It doesn't have to be 'perfect' — the perfection is in that you're doing it together. Be patient and enjoy the moment, because someday they will be cooking for their own family, but hopefully they'll still call you to check the recipe."

Source: Flickr user Suzette Pauwels [3]

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