My preschooler recently transitioned from mostly using the Kuhn Rikon Kinderkitchen Knife to mostly using the 'big kids knife', the Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife (AU here). The Opinel knife is much sharper than the Kuhn Rikon knife so we needed to go over our safety rules. Our knife safety rules include:
- Sharp knives are stored out of reach of young children. We keep our Opinel knife with our adult knives, our child has to ask to use it.
- Children only use knives under 100% adult supervision. There is no walking off or turning away.
- We encourage children to hold the food with upright fingers or using a claw grip.
- We practice using each knife by cutting with soft foods until the child is confident with the knife. Then we can move on to cutting harder foods.
- The knife is only held while chopping. When waiting or talking, the knife is put down on the chopping board.
- Absolutely no waving or pointing with the knife.
- Use a clear, stable cutting surface. We don't crowd the chopping board. If the chopping board is sliding around on the bench we can use a damp cloth or some grippy shelf liner under the chopping board to keep it in place.
- We only use knives while the child is working productively and with focus. If the children start being silly or are obviously losing focus, it's time to do another activity.
Remember the Montessori concept of freedom within limits. Our children are allowed to use their knives but if we find they are not using them correctly we may remove that freedom and would put them away for a while until they are ready for the responsibility.
Please note the Opinel Le Petit Chef Knife comes with a finger guard. Children's safety gloves for the kitchen are available, but I've only seen them from children around 8yrs+.
If you are interested in other children's knives you might like to read We Road Test Ten Children's Kitchen & Chef Knives. Here's What We found! For Ages 2-12yrs + Safety Accessories.
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