By Diana K. Rice, The Kids Cook Monday staff dietitian
Common sense rightly tells you to keep your chef’s knife far out of the reach of your child, no matter how old he may be. Yet knives are an essential culinary tool, and as kids are learning to cook it’s important for them to understand knife safety in the kitchen.
Around age two, children can begin performing simple cutting tasks with a plastic knife. As your child’s dexterity improves, you might consider purchasing a plastic chef’s knife specifically designed for children. Although these tools are perfectly safe, it’s important to get children into the habit of using a knife properly so they’ll be prepared when the day comes that they’re ready for a real knife.
Teach them the “bear claw” method. Show them how to make a claw with the fingers of the hand they’re using to hold the food, which will keep little fingertips away from the blade. Then, holding the knife in their dominant hand, place the tip firmly on the cutting board above the food and show them how to “chomp” down in a lever-like motion.
Determining when your child is ready for a real knife takes some discretion. Consider factors such as his age and overall maturity, his interest in cooking and his ability to follow directions. You might start him off with a worn steak knife and graduate him to his own true cooking blade once you feel he can use it safely.
Latest posts by Diana Rice (see all)
- Kids Cook on Thanksgiving Too: Three Tips to Get Your Family Cooking Together - November 25, 2014
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- Kids in the Kitchen – Monday Cooking Tip #9: Knife Safety - October 6, 2014
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