Young adults (11 – 12) are capable of learning knife skills easily, but require supervision.
Before you ever teach knife skills, you must first teach your child how to apply pressure to cuts to stop bleeding. Then, you can start by teaching your child how to hold a knife by teaching him how to properly keep fingers tucked back using the claw grip.
Begin with a paring knife, then move onto a Chef's knife. Remember, dull doesn't necessarily mean safer if the child must exert a lot of pressure to cut! Teach your child to always ask an adult before handling a knife.
We recommend starting with softer foods (mushrooms and cucumbers are great), then move on to peppers, tomatoes, then finally hard foods like carrots, celery.
When introducing knife skills to children, don't allow them to stand on a chair or stool, or sit on the counter. They need an appropriate height surface, find a stable table of the right height, cover with a plastic table cloth and top it with a large chopping board.
With these basics followed, your child can safely start using a knife.