Looking for a gift that will improve motor skills, increase confidence, and improve your kid’s diet? Consider knives. That’s what I’m getting my three year old for Christmas.
My little man has been helping me in the kitchen for awhile now, stirring muffin batter here, washing vegetables there, but after I read this article about giving toddlers knives, I realized I’ve been low-balling his abilities.
In many cultures, small children learn to use very sharp knives that most Americans don’t even want their pre-teens near. The issue with this level of over-protection is two-fold: (1) when do kids learn how to use knives, and (2) what is the cost of keeping them away?
Too many people leave home without knowing basic skills to take care of themselves, especially in the kitchen.
This lack of knowledge leads to over-reliance on eating out and eating prepared meals which are both expensive and unhealthy habits to sustain. Getting kids comfortable in the kitchen is preparation for their future independence and should not be overlooked. Without using knives, not much meaningful food preparation can be done.
Addtionally, studies have shown that when kids are involved in the food prep, they are more engaged and more willing to try and eat a wider variety of food including vegetables.
Involving kids in the kitchen takes away the mystery of how food is made and connects it to work that should be acknowledged and appreciated. Not only will they feel pride for their contribution to the family meal, they will learn greater appreciation for the meals others prepare for them.
One of the most rewarding but challenging aspects of parenting for me is building character.
By empowering my son to learn to use knives, he will become more adept in the kitchen. Eventually, he’ll be responsible for one meal a week to feed the family. At first I will help him prepare these meals with the goal of him being able to produce meals from recipe to grocery shopping to cooking by the time he’s in middle school.
To help set the path for my son to grow to be a self-sufficient, health-centered person, he’s getting knives.
But because I don’t want to deal with the possibility of stitches just yet, he won’t be unwrapping a ginsu collection. I’ll be starting him off with some safety knives with the goal to get him using regular knives as his skills and my comfort improve.
The drawback of the safety knives is the limited list of foods they can cut, so he won’t be able to chop everything needed for a meal. The benefit is that I’ll still be there demonstrating, helping, and connecting. I can’t wait to for all the meals we’re going to make together.
What gift are you most excited to give this year?