Both of my children were able to my satisfaction to use a knife to cut when they were two years old. Some people found this freaky and were very concerned. My mother was one of these people but when she took a closer look she realized a few things that made her feel better.
- My children had seen me use knives from their place in the sling or wrap almost since birth. I wore my kids in the kitchen and they got to see what was going on. They had an intuitive sense of what a knife was for.
- When kids are small, they don’t have the power to slice off their own fingers. A slip while cutting meant a knick on the finger not the loss of a limb.
- The knives I gave them had rounded ends. No sharp points for stabbing.
- The added sense of competence and confidence my girls had by being able to cut their own bananas and cheese or to help me make dinner by cutting mushrooms and carrots was tangible.
In the beginning I’d hold their hands or they’d hold mine while we cut something. I’d watch them and help them get their fingers out of the way. I didn’t just turn them loose with the tool and watch them flail. I helped them learn how to use it. You may or may not agree with me that kids are able to learn good knife skills at a very young age, but I hope you will agree with me on this point.
If we don’t let children practice and fail and try again and succeed, they will not learn new skills.
If we let them play and practice and learn with us, then they have a greater chance of being interested in us, our activities and our lives. In the long run, this leads to more connection and ease of communication. And that’s good news for everyone.
by Kassandra Brown, Parent Coach