I’m well aware that many people may think I’m crazy, but recently, I’ve been helping Gracen learn how to safely use sharp knives while cooking. She’s been helping in the kitchen since shortly after her first birthday, and is becoming an expert pourer, mixer, peeler, and grater, so this felt like a natural next step. I fully subscribe to the notion that children, even wee ones, are very capable little human beings… More so than we often give them credit for. So, given her kitchen experience, her ability to follow instructions, and her generally cautious nature, I felt like she was ready. Plus, I sort of feel that being handed a cucumber to cut and a butter knife to do the job must feel a little insulting.
Wouldn’t you trust this innocent little face? ☺
When she’s practicing her cutting skills, I like to give Grae my favourite tomato knife. It’s quite sharp, but it doesn’t have a pointed tip and it doesn’t seem to easily puncture the skin – perhaps because it’s serrated? I also make sure to give her soft foods that have at least one flat side (no rolling) and are long and thinnish (more space for holding).
So far, we’ve been focusing on holding the food at the far end and really being aware of where the knife is in relation to her little fingers.
This morning, while we were at the grocery store, I let Grae pick out what she wanted to cut. First on her list was cantaloupe.
She also selected a dragon fruit and a couple of kiwi fruits…
Perfect for a fruit salad! Overall, she’s doing really well with it. I still always stay close to her and monitor her chopping carefully, and I did ask her to slow down a little bit today, but for the most part, she can safely use a sharp knife on her own.
The best part is how proud she is of herself. Chopping up all the fruit for a big bowl of fruit salad while using a sharp knife = official big girl status.