March 09, 2011

Giving Knives to Children

Read an interesting comment threat at Free Range Kids on the best age at which to introduce kids to kitchen knives, pocketknives, and the like. Machetes, even.

Don't let your child or grandchild end up like K's husband:

I remember using butter knives to make PB&J from age 3 at the oldest, and sharper knives, with supervision, not long after that. My dad (the cook in our house) was sure to teach me what knife to use for what job—if you try cutting an apple with a knife that’s barely sharper than a butter knife, it’ll slide and you’re much more likely to cut yourself. A good, sharp serrated knife is actually much safer, because it goes where you want it to.

I do remember slipping and cutting a finger once or twice, but nothing scarring– in either sense of the word. And now I’m a confident cook.

Contrast this with my husband’s upbringing– “Don’t come in the kitchen! You’ll burn yourself! You’ll cut yourself! Don’t touch that!” He ended up being terrified of the kitchen and having no confidence in his ability to figure anything out, and I had to teach him how to use a can opener when he was in his mid-20s.


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Had my own knives from six onwards, my hands are covered in small scars from doing stupid things with them, don't seem to cut myself that often now.

I gave my son a Swiss Army Knife for his 10th birthday (feeling a little guilty that he didn't have one of his own) and the looks on his classmates faces told me he was the only boy in his class with his own knife, I had a whole drawer full by then.

I once saw this idea posted
Some want to childproof the world, wouldn't it make more sense to world-proof the child? It makes perfect sense to me. But then I'm from the 'that'll learn 'em' school of parenting where the leash is long and the safety rope is short.


Peculiar said...

I'm not sure I can remember an age when I didn't play with knives. And boys at least love getting cut. 20 minutes after, you'd think it was the best thing that ever happened to them.