Sylvester has recently made a mark on the internet because of the video of him preparing a lasagne independently at 25 months old. Video below!
Sylvester has been interested in cooking since before he could walk. We have encouraged him to participate in meal preparation at all opportunities: from stirring, pouring, transferring, washing etc and he has always loved kitchen activities.
With cautious guidance and trusting care, we have allowed him to expand his culinary skill base at early ages. We introduced specially designed children's knives from 12 months, and allowed him to have as much practise as he wanted. Slowly at around 20 months we introduced him to the stove, and carefully allowed him to cook his own meals. Here is an example of him cooking eggs at 22 months:
This is a skill that he showed a natural interest in, and we facilitated by offering him some freedom to work within his capabilities. While Sylvester is very young, it is important to be with your child at all times as they explore the kitchen and teach them how to assess their own risks; because the brain at this delicate age can incredibly learn to control the body around heat and sharp objects. I will never leave him unattended in the kitchen near sharp utensils or hot pans; when he is cooking I am never more than 10cm from him. I put a lot of preparation into the meals we make together so that I can spend less time distracted gathering ingredients, and all my time watching him and guiding him. It is important to make this time for preparation to be able to be present while your child is working around heat, especially.
Children are so capable of great skills that might be surprising, if we as parents relax and maintaining a watchful eye, give the child the opportunity to test the limits around them.
In my experience I have found that a twitchy caregiver leads to a twitchy child- these nerves actually cause bigger accidents. If we are calm around potential danger, we let our children use their own innate senses to make their own judgements. They may experience minor accidents, but those lead the brain to make better decisions as they grow.
Sylvester's latest video is now available. He's 29 months, and cooking another pasta dish. He has improved his peeling skills, but still struggles a little with the grater. However, his enthusiasm is still there. It is magical to see his sense of accomplishment when he sits to eat the meal he has prepared. It's noticeable how his brain is processing the "story" of the activity: ingredients (beginning), chopping and cooking (middle), sitting and eating (end).
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