Kids in the Kitchen | 6 Tips to Teach Kids How to Use Knives

At Chef'd, we believe that the main reason why so many young men and women never learn to cook is that they spent their formative years essentially banished from the kitchen, deferring to the culinary expertise of adults. While it can be nerve-wracking allowing children to be around sharp objects or open flames, kids are naturally fast learners and—with proper supervision and instruction—they can not only feel more comfortable around the kitchen but can also be encouraged to express themselves creatively with their cooking. However, one of the very first things they need to learn is how to safely use knives.

Kids in the Kitchen | 6 Tips to Teach Kids How to Use Knives

6 Techniques to Teach Kids How to Properly and Safely Use a Knife

1. Start Slow and Easy

Start out with something small and easy like a smaller knife and a crisp vegetable. A soft food like lettuce is better than something hard like a carrot or something large like a watermelon.

2. Begin with a Proper Grip

Before the young chef cuts anything, they should practice a steady grip on the knife. It may need to be different than the one that you use, however, because most knives are made for adult-sized hands.

3. Pay Special Attention to What to Do With Their Off Hand

Ideally, a youngster should cut with the same hand that they write with, but this means the hand most likely to fumble is their non-cutting hand. Put a special emphasis on practicing moving his hand along the food away from where the cutting is happening.

4. Controlled Slicing Motion

Kids might naturally want to just hack and chop at their vegetable, but you need to teach them a steady and careful slicing motion where the tip of the blade rests on the cutting board before bringing the handle down in a slicing motion.

5. Hold Their Hands Before You Set Them Free

You may have to hold your hands over their little mitts at first, but as the kids successfully make their cuts let them proceed your manual assistance, like taking the training wheels off a bike. This will show trust and build confidence before they learn more challenging techniques.

6. Keep it Fun

It should go without saying, but if the entire process feels more like playtime than a chore the little rascals will be more likely to be interested in doing it again in the future. Insist on safety, but let loose a little and let the task be enjoyable.

If these guidelines are followed neither you or your kids will have anything to fear from your cutlery set. Given the opportunity, kids can feel that the kitchen is a part of their world rather than yet another room in the house that only belongs to the grownups. Taking the time to let them grow and expand their horizons can be a little tense at first, but in the long run, it will be worth it. Not only will they better know how to take care of themselves and their loved ones when they grow up, but when they get that very first compliment on a dish that they helped prepare it just might be the start of a lifelong love of culinary arts.

Get the Kids Involved with Dinner Tonight!

We’ve developed an entire collection of meal kits that are perfect for the whole family. Any meal kit from our Kids in the Kitchen collection will help you put this knowledge to use and make more delicious memories in the kitchen. Shop now by clicking the link below!