Put children and home appliances in one room and it’s usually a recipe for disaster. There’s either going to be a something broken with smoke coming out of it, or your little one is going to end up crying because of a boo-boo. It’s understandable that you’re afraid to even leave your children alone in a room with an appliance, but mistakes like these happen not because kids are silly and can’t figure out how to use them, but because no one ever showed them how to do it the right way. Of course, the added forbidden charm of “don’t touch this!” makes them even more eager to poke their fingers at it, so if you truly want them to stay safe in the kitchen, you better teach them a few things.
If you’re interested to know how instructing your kids to use common household appliances can benefit you and how you can go about it in a safe manner, read on as we share some of our best advice.
Getting your children involved
When they’re small, you are their biggest hero and their biggest influence. They want to follow you around and do all of the things you’re doing, so getting them involved in your daily tasks is actually a great way to make them feel important. They’ll feel like you have trust in their capabilities and it will build their confidence. For parents who are short on time, this can also be a great way to spend some bonding time together. Why not prepare dinner and chat about what happened at school that day?
Gauging what they can handle
While microwaves and stoves might only be reserved for teens, most children who can walk and handle objects can load the dishwasher and later learn how to turn it on and even put the dishes away. Handling the fridge is also easy – let them take all the ingredients out when you cook, and let them stir things, or add sugar to the cookie dough. The toaster might also be safe to use after a few tries, and if your kid can toast bread, then they can make themselves a sandwich when they’re hungry – this kind of skill will make them feel good about themselves and make life easier for you.
In case of emergencies
Make sure to explain how each appliance is used and be very patient when they try it out the first time. Don’t let them use it on their own unless you’re certain they remember all the right steps. In case of any mishaps, you want to make sure you have a number of an emergency electrician on your hands – it will make you feel better and make it easier to fix things in case they accidentally end up broken.
While children don’t respond well to punishment, they do respond to discipline and boundaries, especially if you give them a reason for setting them. Allow them and encourage them to help you, but explain to them that some appliances are still out of limits for the sake of their safety. Mention that one day that will change, especially if they behave well and make sure that they’re always careful.
Supervise at first
Be there to check whether your child is really doing what you taught them to do, and correct them gently if they skip a step or try to use an appliance in an unsafe way. Don’t get angry if they misuse it, but do talk to them and explain why they have to listen to your instructions. Once you’ve seen them do everything according to rules several times, you can trust them to do it alone in the future.
Allow them to become independent
Children should slowly learn useful skills that will allow them to be a little more independent. Independent kids aren’t disobedient, they simply know how to better take care of themselves instead of always going to you to put their shoes on or wipe their nose. They pick up after themselves instead of expecting you to always do it for them. Give them some responsibility and skills to go with it, and they’ll thrive.
As long as you are patient and explain everything slowly, your children shouldn’t have any trouble learning how to use basic appliances. Let them help you in the kitchen and you’ll both be happier.