Knife Safety for Kids is so important, but where do you begin? This guide will help you better understand whether your child is ready to use real knives, how to teach your child to use a knife, and how to teach them the confidence needed to stay safe in the kitchen.
We love seeing kids get involved in the kitchen. Whether they are helping stir, measure or mix, it’s amazing to watch their culinary skills and confidence in the kitchen grow.
Helping kids learn knife skills will take their independence in the kitchen to the next level. Today, we’re sharing the basics on knife safety for kids to help your kids safely chop, slice and dice.
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Knife Safety for Kids
Safety is our number one priority. Introducing knives in the kitchen does require adult supervision and guidance. As parents, set your kids up for success by:
- Placing them counter height. A step stool is a great way to boost your child to be at the correct height.
- Securing their cutting board. Place a damp paper towel or dish towel under a cutting board to secure to the counter.
Ultimately you will know when your child is ready to safety learn to use a knife – you know your child better than anyone!
When ready, choose an appropriate knife based on age and skill level. We recommend starting with a butter knife for the youngest of chefs then moving to a plastic chef knife and finally a larger chef knife.
Safety Holding a Knife
Once your chefs are at the counter with their cutting board, the next step is to teach kids how to properly handle a knife. Here are 3 messages to teach your kids:
- Grip. Hold the handle of the knife with your writing hand using a bicycle grip. Knuckles should be face up with fingers around the handle. You pointer finger should not be on top of the blade.
- Claw. The hand that is holding the food should look like a bear claw – fingers curled with thumb in. This protects your fingers in case the knife slips.
- Eyes. Keep eyes on the knife at all times. Remind your child that if their eyes wander then they should stop cutting and place the knife carefully on the cutting board.
Practice Knife Skills
Before practicing knife skills there are a few tips to discuss with your kids. These tips will help them successfully cut a piece of food while remaining safe.
- The knife is stuck. Tell your kids to pretend the tip of the knife is stuck to the cutting board.
- Rock the blade. When cutting, the blade should move in a rocking motion to saw through the food.
- Lay food flat. Round items like cucumbers and bananas should be cut in half lengthwise to lay on their flat side for safe cutting.
- Move hand to coarsely chop. Small pieces like garlic or herbs should be chopped by rocking the knife across the food while your hand lays flat on top of the knife.
Watch the step by step video to help get your children safely chopping and cutting with real knives.
You can read the transcript of the video if you prefer reading to video.
As seen in the video above, making a salad is a great way to practice knife skills with kids. You can use a variety of ingredients that are already in the fridge or head to the store to select your kids’ favorites. Looking for a salad recipe for inspiration? Check out Brussels Sprout Apple Salad and Broccoli Salad.
As a mom, I know how daunting the task of teaching knife skills and knife safety to kids can be. My biggest piece of advice? Remain calm and encouraging when it in the kitchen with your kids – they will model your behaviors.
I can assure you that it does get easier for both you and the kids with time and practice. You’ll be thankful for the day you can sit back and relax while your kids do all the slicing and dicing!