Playing With Knives25 October 2017
It might seem scary to you, but by the time your child is 5 years old, she’s ready to start using a knife, with guidance and supervision, of course. By learning basic knife skills, your child builds confidence and can start helping you out around the kitchen, which is a great activity to do together.
First of all, don’t hand them a knife until they’re ready. Learning how to use utensils needs to come at the right development time, which is usually once she is 5 years old. Waiting until she is ready and showing interest increases your chances of things going well. By 5, she’s already had some practice with child utensils, so the transition to adult utensils isn’t as hard as you might think.
Keep it simple. Your 5 year old doesn’t need to know the difference between a dinner fork and a dessert fork just yet, so just keep it to the basics: one fork, one knife, one spoon. She will learn about the other utensils a few years later.
Change the grip. Moving over to adult utensils means that your child needs to learn to move away from the primitive grip she used to use on her plastic utensils, so something closer to holding a pencil. It’s not hard, but your child will need to be reminded of that a few times before it becomes second nature to her.
Tell a story. As you eat, explain to your child what utensil you’re using and why that’s the best one to use in that instance. As you explain why a knife might be useful on this occasion, explain to her step by step how you’re using that knife, so she can copy you and learn. This is a good time to sneak in some table manners that she will be able to keep with her throughout her life.
Once you’ve gone through these steps, make sure to repeat them every day for quite some time, until she picks up on it and becomes an expert at using her utensils.