My friend Paula told me about a Western author who lived with indigenous people in the Amazon. The author witnessed babies and toddlers playing with machetes, crawling around open fires etc.

When she worried about this, the adults laughed and said the kids were not stupid. In her years there she never saw a child hurt themselves in those situations. She concludes that by trusting in our kids’ ability to keep themselves safe, we help them do so. Conversely, telling kids ‘don’t, you’ll hurt yourself!’, you’ll predispose them to thinking and behaving in an incapable, risk-prone way.

I agree it’s important to start teaching children to deal with potentially dangerous things (of which there many around us) in reasonable ways from early ages – as opposed to ‘banning’ those from their lives. Most cannot be entirely removed, anyway.

We started practising cutting with normal knives and soft / pre-cut foods like watermelon and banana. Now our two-year old  daughter loves cutting a banana to go with her breakfast porridge.