Guess what? I let my kids play with knives.
Really. We have loads of fun together, just me, my kids, and the knives… oh, and the food.
Not everyone would call what we do playing. I set clear and specific rules before we pull the knives out, they can only be used in my presence, and they can only be used to cut up whatever food I’ve provided.
Not everyone calls it that, and while I won’t call it playing in front of my kids, that’s exactly what I consider it to be. We are after all having fun.
But there are rules! Playtime isn’t supposed to have rules!
No. play always has rules, even free play. You aren’t allowed to hit other children. You aren’t allowed to deface property. You aren’t allowed to jump off the dresser and pretend to be a bird (true story).
Think of knives the same way you think of board game play. Lots of rules and still part of a happy healthy childhood.
Here are eight reasons to let your kids play with knives.
- To improve coordination: Cutting utilizes fine motor skills. These are the same skills used to cut with scissors and hold a pencil. So, you’re little Einstein can work on her pencil grip without even touching a pencil!
- To teach your kid to help: Running a household is a big job, and our kids are a lot better off when they are part of that job. In fact, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal doing household chores is linked with academic success and financial independence.
- To allow a little risk: Risk is GOOD for children. Allowing our children to take risks now gives them a better sense of their own capabilities and fosters a sense of confidence.
- To give your child confidence: That’s right, more confidence. It’s amazing what they are capable of if we only give them the chance to show us, and they end up showing not just us, but themselves as well!
- So your child learns how to cook: Smell that? It’s the delicious smell of dinner, and it’s cooked by someone other than you! The possibility is right around the corner, but you have to build the foundation now, by you guessed it, letting your kids play with knives.
- To help your child be more involved with family meals: If my kids help cook the meal they are a hundred gazillion times more likely to actually eat it! Getting kids involved with cooking is so incredibly important to teaching them healthy skills that will set them up for a lifetime of good health vs. the lifetime of diabetes that looms over so many of our kids these days.
- So you can have some productive time with your kid: We all want to spend time with our kids, but sometimes we also want clean clothing or a floor that doesn’t crunch under our feet. When we cook with our kids we are able to both spend time with them and be productive at the same time. Although, I make no promises as to how long it will take to cook your meal. They’re kids, not gourmet chefs.
- So your kid doesn’t cut himself: Wait, you’re telling me that my kid won’t cut himself if I give him a knife? Say What!/? Seriously, if you are teaching your kid how to use a knife, with good ground rules about how to hold the knife, how to keep fingers away from the knife, etc. Your kid is way less likely to get cut. To be honest, it’s only been a couple of years that I’ve been able to prepare a meal without cutting myself, and I’ve been preparing meals for my family since I was sixteen. That’s probably because no one ever taught me how to use a knife. I had to youtube it when my husband threatened to hide all the knives in the house. Need more convincing? How about this, Kids in Sweden are regularly given knives, not just in the kitchen, but actual pocket knives to play with. They also have the lowest percentage of child injury in the world.
So give your kid a knife for darn’s sake and start cooking :)
But, if you’re feeling a bit nervous about handing your tot a five-pound butcher knife, you can always try one of these kid-safe knives. My kids got these for Christmas and they love them! No injuries yet :)
Disclosure: I’m a member of amazon affiliate so if you click this link or buy one of these knives I get a “cut” of the deal. Get it? Get it?
So, do you let your kids use knives in the kitchen? Or are you not so sure about handing sharp pointy objects to your little ones?