Right Age to Let Child Start Using a Knife??

Updated on June 15, 2010
H.M. asks from Pontiac, MI
20 answers

Alright I have a silly question that my husband and I were talking about. What age did you mothers allow your children to start using a knife at the dinner table to cut their food with?

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So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your comments. My daughter is four and very gentle and mature for her age. I think she would be ready whenever we are. We also eat meals together as a family with the tv off :). I found a toddler siverware set at the store with a very dull knife that I think I will buy for her to start out with. I just can't believe how old my baby is getting. Lol! Thanks again!

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E.C.

answers from Detroit on

My son is 7 and actually just started using one. I feel like I was a little delayed on letting him try it because once I told him to try, he seemed extremely frustrated but he picked up on it very quickly.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I've put one out for him for about a year or two but only now (at age 7) is he really using a butter knife.

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J.M.

answers from Boston on

Both of my kids (5 and 2.5) get a knife at their place setting, but it's a butter knife, not sharp at all. I started giving them the knife when I realized that they could do way more damage to themselves with the fork, and I was encouraging them to eat with that! My 5 year old can now cut up a lot of her softer food and spread butter, and my 2.5 year old basically ignores the knife (sadly, he ignores the fork a lot of the time too).

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N.S.

answers from Chicago on

At age 6.5 we gave her a butter knife and taught her how to use it. Now she's almost 9 and she is allowed to use a butter knife by herself and a steak knife only if she's concentrating (not watching TV) and we're closely supervising how she's holding it.

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C.M.

answers from Detroit on

I don't think there is a right age. It depends on how your childs small motor skills have developed. I guess my answer would be whenever you teach them and if they can handle it. More than likely it will just be a table knife, not a steak knife so no worries about being hurt.

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H.S.

answers from Detroit on

My son is four and a half and we let him use a butter knife and we let him try to cut is food with it; it isn't very sharp, it's actually pretty dull, but they need to learn some time. lol

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

My daughter is now 7, and she can handle it and I trust her. And with supervision or for helping with cooking.
She's good that way.
NO way for my son, of course he's too young and an active boy using anything for a toy.

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

We let ours start at about 4 or as soon as they were able to hold the knife. we did start with plastic ware. it just seems to fit their hands better.

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V.H.

answers from Detroit on

As soon as they can hold it. Knives are not just for cutting but also for helping get food on the fork, or at least that's the case if you are using your cutlery properly (Being English I have a bit of a thing about how you guys use your silverware - to us it looks very bad mannered to keep swapping hands!)

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S.H.

answers from Detroit on

My oldest daughter is now 5. We have a set of children's silverware from Target that includes a knife. I let her use it at age 4. My other daughter is 3, and more...er, volatile. She has explosive temper tantrums and is a biter. So I may wait longer if that is still happening when she is 4. You know, in the spirit of self-preservation. :)

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C.P.

answers from Columbia on

It truly depends upon the child, but even more so it depends upon how your family eats meals. I gave both of my boys butter knives at age 5 because we eat together most nights and I can supervise them at the table.

If you do not eat family meals, I don't advise allowing your child to use a knife until you are a willing to sit down with them, show them how to use it, and supervise such use. You can't just show them once and leave, you have to make corrections and assist them for several days (and longer) until they can do it on their own. Your good example is needed.

While you're at it, be sure you teach your child the proper way to hold a fork or spoon (knuckles down like with a pencil, not up), not talk with food in their mouths, and to chew with their mouths closed. It's far easier to teach these basic manners when they are young.

Luck!

C.

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M.H.

answers from Detroit on

I am really surprised to read that some people do not let their children experiment with knives until they are 5, 6 or even 7 and 8 years old.We sit down as a family and eat meals together without the distraction of the television. Mealtimes are supervised so my kids got a childrens silverware set that included knife (with very dull cutting edge), fork and spoon, at around two years old. I helped to cut more difficult foods such as the meat and let them start cutting softer foods themselves. A great food to practice using a knife on is pancakes because they are so easy to cut even with little skills. My four year old can cut pretty much all his food up now with the exception of some meats (generally if I've cooked them a bit tough lol). The earlier you give them the knife the sooner they will master using it. Ikea has some great sets which have knife, fork and spoon that are toddler friendly.

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E.C.

answers from Detroit on

My son is 7 and actually just started using one. I feel like I was a little delayed on letting him try it because once I told him to try, he seemed extremely frustrated but he picked up on it very quickly.

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S.G.

answers from Saginaw on

When my daughter was 5 we started letting her use a butter knife at the dinner table. We actually dont eat alot of foods that she has to cut with a knife except steak and I have to cut that with a steak knife so mostly she is awesome at buttering her bread! She gets the general idea of it though and feels good about herself when she uses it.

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D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I've put one out for him for about a year or two but only now (at age 7) is he really using a butter knife.

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K.M.

answers from Detroit on

5 or 6 and i start with butter knife my daughter is 9 and just started using a steak knife but shes been using a butter knife since 6 my son has since 5 my 5 year old sometimes but mostly not yet but thats because shes a little behind. I think it has alot to do with there intellagents and if they can handle the warnings and dos and donts. You also need to let them know there sharp and the rules. Even if its a butter knife its sharp.

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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

Growing up we got knives as soon as we got to the US (in Japan it's considered rude to have to cut up a carcass in view of people who are eating).

Myself... I'm more cautious. Kiddo has been using chefs knives to help prep (with adult supervision) since he was 4... but since dinner I pay less attention... so at almost 8... he still uses a butter knife.

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M.O.

answers from Chicago on

Our kids are 7 and 5. We bought the Spreader knives from Pampered Chef. Our kids know these as "safety knives" and it's what they use when they need to use a knife. The 7 yr old is now using a butter knife, and occasionally a sharper knife under my supervision.

We often "practice" our cutting skills, when they help me prep dinner. I let one pick a veggie, like a red pepper or mushrooms, that's soft, to slice up for me for our salad or fajitas.

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K.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

When they get embarrassed about having mommy or daddy cutting up their food. For my son it was around 8 or 9 (then again, he had some fine motor skills, so there was THAT issue as well). My daughters have been using dinner knives for a couple of years. They're 7 and 9. I really think it depends on the child.

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A.C.

answers from Cincinnati on

depending on the child - e.g. there attention, motor skills, etc. typically around 7-8 years old

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S.X.

answers from Chicago on

we started with a NON sharp knife around 4.

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H.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

My kids have both been using once since just about 2 years of age, the sooner they learn to use the knife/scissors etc the better they are at handling them. My three year old boy cuts very well with a sharp knife. The earlier you start the more natural it becomes to them.

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