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When do children start to use a knife and fork together?

(18 Posts)
mollipops Fri 04-Oct-02 13:55:43

I'm curious about when I should give my kids a knife (obviously a child-size safe one!) alongside their fork to eat with? My dd's OT asked if she could cut with a knife (she is almost 6) but she usually uses just a spoon and fork at the dinner table. I know she can use a knife to cut playdough! I guess it is an important skill to learn but it hadn't occurred to me to start yet.

When have other mumsnetters introduced a knife to their children's mealtimes?

XAusted Fri 04-Oct-02 14:14:50

Both my kids (6 and 3) like to have a child-size knife at meal times but neither can use one very well, except for cutting up soft things. However, my 6 year old's best friend can use one fairly well. Depends on how dextrous they are, I suppose. Personally, I'm pleased if they use any cutlery instead of their fingers!

lou33 Fri 04-Oct-02 15:00:26

3 year old 6 year old and 10 year old all use adult cutlery. The two older ones are ok with them, the 3 year old tends to try and use his fingers a lot, but i tell him not to, and he uses the knife instead.

SueDonim Fri 04-Oct-02 16:39:14

I introduced children's knives at about 2.5 and then adult stuff at around 5. It very much depends on what your cutlery is like. We have some new stuff that is too heavy for our 6yr old but the older set was smaller and lighter so she uses that. Both DD's managed okay, even though they are left-handed and I'm not. The Pampered Chef sells safe but effective childrens knives, about gbp2.25 and you can use them for play cutting too. Look at The Pampered Chef site

kkgirl Fri 04-Oct-02 19:08:57

My kids are terrible, no matter how much we nag them they will insist in eating with their fingers. They are like animals.
Any suggestions on how to cure them?

sb34 Sat 05-Oct-02 00:20:58

Message withdrawn

Eulalia Mon 07-Oct-02 13:26:59

I am wondering when kids stop needing bibs. My 3 year old is really messy still as he always overloads the spoon. He is too big now for a highchair and its difficult when we are out as often food ends up right in his lap resulting in a complete change of clothes.

lou33 Mon 07-Oct-02 15:13:29

Eulalaia you could try using a kids painting overall instead maybe?

lou33 Mon 07-Oct-02 15:13:48

Sorry meant Eulalia!

mollipops Tue 08-Oct-02 01:06:40

I agree, the painting aprons are great, or even a light rain-jacket on backwards! You can also put a plastic tablecloth on the floor under his chair. If you are out, put a cloth nappy or serviette or two on his lap, and pull his sleeves up. I can't remember when my kids stopped using bibs, I think it was around 2 or 2.5 as they got too small to fit properly anyway. Although they are handy if they are eating something messy or juicy, but generally they just get grubby or sticky instead now...more washing!

SueDonim Tue 08-Oct-02 03:20:10

When my dd was too old for bibs but had something messy to eat, like spag bol or tomato soup, I used to put a towelling tea towel lengthwise round her neck and hold it in place with a kitchen clip - those things like a hair clip or a bulldog clip. The decent size of a tea towel meant that more-or-less all of her was covered and of course they're easy to wash and don't need ironing (in my house!)

Jaybee Thu 10-Oct-02 17:02:09

Answering the original question, as soon as they got quite adept with spoon and fork I introduced the baby knife and fork, at around 12-18 months I think - (they always had a spoon in their hand from day 1 of weaning) - mainly to get them used to holding it in he right hand but eventually for shoving food onto the fork - they then progressed to a chunky cutlery set from Ikea at around 2.5(plastic handles but metal cutlery) and then onto a more grown up real set but smaller again from Ikea (animal print plastic handles)at around 4.
Re. messy eaters, I used to use my muslin squares held together with a peg - I always used to carry a peg in my bag for serviettes etc.

Jaybee Thu 10-Oct-02 17:09:14

Maybe I should start a new thread on the uses of muslin squares - these are the things that I always recommend that new mums-2b buy, some of my uses for them have been - the obvious vomit collection and sofa protection for the new born, covering sheets to protect from vomit (saves changing the whole sheet in the middle of the night), sun shade for the car or pram, sling when my friend's ds fractured his arm, protecting transfers when ironing ds' tops and now when sealing Hama beads, as I mentioned before, large bibs for messy meals, anyone have any other uses??

Bumblelion Thu 10-Oct-02 17:19:56

My DS (5 1/2) uses an adult knife very competently and has never attempted to cut anything apart from his food, although saying that the knives are not that sharp.

SoupDragon Thu 10-Oct-02 17:31:15

I've made a very serviceable emergency sun hat complete with flap at the back for DS1 out of a muslin square once.

Made a muslin rabbit as a comforter too - just knotted it in the right place!

And back on topic, DS1 (3 1/2) has not mastered a knife yet.

SoupDragon Thu 10-Oct-02 17:32:18

And the Ikea cutlery is fab!! We've got loads...

SueDonim Fri 11-Oct-02 03:10:37

I've used muslins to strain home-made jellies and marmalade, to cook a steamed pud, for pressing clothes and as a cover for the needlecrafts I do. Mine are 27 yrs old and still doing sterling service!

Katherine Fri 11-Oct-02 16:18:04

I've never had muslin squares but used a pack of terry nappies (bought in a moment of enthusiasm for reusable nappies) instead. I find they are great for all the uses described below but are a bit more absorbant.

DS has still not really mastered a knife (4) but I take heart from the comment below that he will learn from others once he starts school at Easter. I'm sure he'll master it eventually so I'm not worried now although I do provide them both with them (DD=2.7) just to give them the idea.

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