When Should a Child Learn to Use a Knife?

I'm one of those parents who tries too hard at some things and totally neglects other (important) things. However, I think life skills need to be taught at home. I'm still trying to figure out what life skills need to be learned and when. The life skill I'll write about today is children using knives.

My children see me use sharp knives in the kitchen every day. When I can safely supervise children using a sharp knife, I allow them to do so. In fact, making homemade applesauce is a family event.

But what about the 3-year-old? Is she too young to use a knife?

No. I have taught Little Sister to use a knife. By slicing her own banana with a butter knife, she learned how to use the knife.
But that was a butter knife. What about a sharp knife?
Because Little Sister was trained to use the butter knife first, she can now safely use a paring knife on soft foods with careful supervision. I never give her a large knife because her hands are small, but small paring knives with soft foods work well for her.

Foods such as meatballs are not ideal for 3-year-olds to cut. The capacity to roll make them a much more "dangerous" food. Dangerous because the child could get hurt...or the meatball could catapult far away. 

These photos were taken back in the early winter when Little Sister was a much "younger" three. She doesn't use knives regularly, but when she does, she understands how to do so.

Take a peek at the children cutting apples in this post which includes tips for making applesauce with children.

What life skills do you think are most important for children to learn?

~ Annette
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1 comment

  1. I taught kindergarten and preschool for many years. By teaching kids to use "grown up" items, like scissors and knives, at that age, you are showing them how to use them properly and to respect their potential for hazard. It also removes the taboo and the desire to grab them when no one is looking! ;)


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