Many children naturally love DIY projects, especially boys. So experimenting with tools is always very tempting. However, it can be very dangerous, especially if they manage to get their hands on electric tools such as a drill or jigsaw!
Although safety is always a parent’s or guardian’s primary concern, it would be a shame if that prevented children from experimenting with DIY projects. In the long run, it’s safer for your child to be educated in working with their hands. As long as you follow a few simple guidelines, DIY projects can be great fun for all the family to enjoy.
Start Them Young
If you start teaching your kids basic DIY skills from a young age, they are far less likely to have an accident when they start playing with the big boys’ tools in the future. If your five year old knows how to screw an object together or is getting the hang of simple flat pack furniture, you know that they have a really good basis to go onto something more complicated when they are older.
Start with Simple Tasks
Don’t expect them to be drilling into walls with a power drill on their first attempt at DIY. Very simple tasks such as screwing screws into bits of spare wood, using measuring tape, and bending objects with pliers will ease them in gently. If they build up their basic understanding of tools and simple methods they will be able to understand each process as it gets more complicated.
This may seem an obvious one, but, believe it or not, many parents will wander off and leave their kids in charge of a tool without really thinking about it. Even if they have something which isn’t electric and seems harmless, you would be surprised what can happen. From screwdrivers in ears and noses to fingers and toes in pliers, accidents can happen, especially since young children do not have the fears that adults do and will attempt things without realizing the consequences. If you need to leave the room for a minute, take either the tool or the child out with you so they are not left together without adult supervision. This can be relaxed as they get older and understand the dangers and risks a bit more.
That said, a “hands off” approach is probably best. You can sit with your child and talk them through each step, but resist the urge to take the tool from them. In some instances they may not be strong enough yet to finish (such as driving screws flush into wood). Offer to finish this step for them as a child straining is more likely to injure themselves.
Use Equipment Designed for Kids
There are a huge amount of products out there that are designed especially for children. From child-sized drills and screwdrivers to tools with safety and cutout mechanisms built into them, there are many options out there that allow DIY projects to be that little bit safer for kids. Smaller sized tools can be helpful as they fit the smaller size of your child’s hands and allow them to hold the appliance with more control and precision.
Mistakes are Okay
Everyone makes mistakes and any work requiring tools seems to be a more problematic activity than most. Most people can own up to at least one DIY mistake and, although annoying, they can teach them (and you!) valuable lessons. Kids will all make mistakes and they need to understand that this is okay and all part of the learning experience. From painting the wrong wall to screwing the wrong sections together or gluing their thumb and forefinger together (or nails to a desk), it will happen. But these oopses will make them a better DIY-er for it. Encourage them, and show them how they can undo any errors before moving on to the next step of your project.
About the Author: George is a writer for Alton Towers Resort, a family-friendly UK accommodation provider. He’s lived through the experience of a toddler chasing him with a yellow and red plastic hammer.