If you are a grandparent or relative of a mid-sized member of the next generation, you are likely to be offered help every time you take a tool to start a repair project home. We believe that it takes a large amount as well as a kind quality of patience to deal with the little help. But if you say, "Well, thanks, I could use a little help," you might find that you will benefit as well as the child.
If the kid is really too young to maintain a real interest, just give him a piece of plywood to hammer it with your smallest hammer. If the small carpenter is able to swing the hammer and can understand that nothing is really accomplished, then screw a piece of a 2 x 4 against the plywood and start some roofing nails in it. Roofing nails are those with an extra large head that is hard to miss.
Now, hopefully, it happily hits the nails in the 2 x 4. But you're not off the hook; not by a long shot. You'd better overtake it and demonstrate the speed and accuracy of the hammer blows. A six-year-old has more enthusiasm than skill, and if he gets tired or tries too hard, he may break a finger or worse. Explain the merit of a careful practice that allows his carpentry skills to develop gradually. So remember not to leave him alone with tools.
This quality moment with your little ones does not need to take a lot of time. They just want to be with you and be helpful. After the workout, they can just hand in the nails one at a time, or count your screwdrivers, or go tell mom what you are going to fix.
The biggest concern with children of all ages and their supply of tools is the potential for abuse. Not only can they hurt themselves (or you, they'll give you a hammer when your back is turned), but they can really make a number on the new pane that you just picked up at your local hardware store. Can you imagine the creative stripes that your biggest Phillips screwdriver could put on the solid oak entry door you're so proud of? The rule that develops here is that the small assistants CAN NOT TOUCH ANY TOOL until you tell them that they can. If you give them all your attention and you allow them to help them a bit, they will soon accept the rules.
Imagine little darlings at nine or ten years old. It may be time to present them at upcoming Christmas and anniversaries with a new toolbox and a smaller version than the standard of several common tools. You have seen these lighter hammers. They do not drive a nail as fast as your big hammer, but they are more easily used by small hands and biceps. The hammer should really be adapted to the size of the nail anyway, so be sure to provide smaller nail boxes. And how about those cute little locking clips that are only a few inches long? You can add any tools that seem necessary and used. Continue with that patience that you developed when they were five or six years old. They will make mistakes, but you did it too and do it again from time to time.
But do not make the mistake of buying too many tools at the same time. He tends to overwhelm them and they should really learn to use them one at a time. There is another big big mistake to avoid. I'm not saying that simply because our website, toolhill.com, sells tools. Please do not buy cheap tools because they are "just for learning". The learning will be more skillful when practicing with well balanced tools of good quality and design. BUY THE BEST YOU CAN ADDRESS AND INSIST THEY TAKE THE RIGHT CARE OF THEIR TOOLS.
If you can tolerate such help for a few years, your reward will be a young person who becomes confident in his skills and more profitable than you think. One spring day, she will surprise you by saying, "Dad, if you remember to buy a new spline for the screendoor, we can fix it tomorrow morning. (Take advantage when she is 12, because at age 15, she will choose to sleep all Saturday morning.)
But remember, when she will be in her own apartment after college she will take care of a lot of those little problems that other girls call Daddy. You will be so proud.
But you are proud of all your children and their diverse abilities and interests. If they do not cherish their tools as you do and if they show little talent or interest in your home repairs, do not worry. Pay close attention to their ideas, then promote one of their interests and share those experiences, and love them for what they are.
Dr. Foltz is a retired teacher who now enjoys the fascinating world of tools. Her husband Dick thrives on being so immersed in one of his favorite subjects. There are literally thousands of types and brands of tools, so she will be happy to learn tools for the rest of her life. Its mission in establishing
the toolhill.com website is to foster an increase in know-how and trust in the use of tools among their visitors and customers. In her spare time, she writes self help books for people who want to write their personal and family stories.