***This Program has Ended. Stay tuned for the Next Cool Thing***
Every "knife knut" parent I know is champing at the bit to hand his kids their first knife. If you're like me, you've been grooming them for The Big Moment since they were able to say the word "knife." And from the day I started KnivesShipFree, I've been committed to helping other parents pass on their love for fine knives.
I have three kids—all girls. They're certifiable knife snobs, just like their dad. So permit me to pass along some pearls of wisdom, one parent to another.
How old should my kids be before they get their first knife?
That can be a little tricky. Because each kid is different, the real answer is that you are the only one who knows. You have to gauge their level of responsibility—it's your call.
That said, most kids are ready for some supervised knife use at age 6 or 7, and they may have earned the privilege of having their own knife shortly thereafter. Between 8 and 9 years old is a great age, I think, because by that time they're really starting to develop good habits and are taking personal responsibility in other areas of their lives.
Remember, you don’t have to give them a Sebenza and send them out on their own. Take it a step at a time and don’t rush things. They won’t grow up tomorrow. You have a little time.
I'm worried that my kids will cut themselves.
They will. You can’t make knives completely safe. They're sharp and pointy. I still cut myself from time to time.
Teach kids the principles of safe knife handling—and then be ready with bandaids.
Which is better for kids—a fixed blade or a folder?
Truth? A fixed blade. I tell that to countless parents every month, and every month those same parents pick up a folding knife for their kids instead.
Fixed blades don’t ever fold on your fingers. Fixed blades never cut you when you're closing them.
Almost everyone chooses a folding knife anyway, and that's ok. Just be careful, and choose a good one. I put together this video on how to choose a folding knife for a kid.
Just in case you don’t like listening to me talk—and shame on you for that—here are the highlights:
- Quality. Don’t you dare get your kid hooked on junk knives! (I know, I know, I didn’t even need to tell you that, but it had to be said.)
- Middle-sized knife. Kids need a knife they can control. Big knives and very small knives are very difficult to handle for children with small hands and limited dexterity.
- Locking blade. A reliable locking blade will help limit some of the inevitable mishaps kids have with knives.
- Inexpensive. Get something that won't make you cry too much if (or when) it gets lost.
When should I give my kids their first expensive knife?
You'll have to judge that by your kid. One of my girls got a Bark River as her first knife, for instance, while another started with a $20 knife until I saw that she was responsible enough for a better knife. You'll know when the time is right, and it'll be another milestone you can celebrate together.
Traditional or modern?
Your kid wants to be just like you. Take a look at your own knives and the things that thrill you, and get your kid something similar. Get ready to be greeted by a big smile.
How should parents prepare for giving a child a knife?
First, take a deep breath. Kids have been using knives for a long time, so relax.
Take a few minutes to watch this video on the Three Rules for Parents who are giving their son or daughter their first knife.
What knife-safety rules do you recommend for kids?
This is one of those things that you will have to figure out.
To give you some food for thought, however, I did this video covering the basic rules that I put on my own kids.
- No silliness.
- Treat every folding knife like it doesn't have a lock.
- Cut away from yourself.
- Maintain your knife.
What knife do you recommend as a good first knife?
Actually, I've spent a lot of time thinking about that, and I recommend the 285 Buck Bantam. It's about $20 delivered to your door.
But wait—I have an even better idea. Believe me, it really is better. Check it out—HERE.