As parents, it is our job to help guide our children through the early stages of life and help teach them the skills they will need to be a productive and independent adult – Few skills help to embed independence like DIY skills.
By teaching your child the basics of DIY you will help them improve their motor skills, problem solving skills and set them up to be independent once they leave the nest. Practicing DIY will challenge your child physically and mentally, which will help keep them engaged, as well as providing a feel of competence and success after they finish a project.
Remember To Keep DIY Age Appropriate
It is important to make sure any DIY activities you involve your children in are age appropriate and finding things they can do in a safe and supervised manner, so they don’t hurt themselves.
Toddlers should be kept away from actual DIY work where they may be injured such as using hammers or building large objects, but they can learn the basics by doing peripheral tasks linked to DIY such as measuring which will help engage them and encourage them to develop math skills or being a ‘tool caddy’ fetching tools for you as you work, familiarising them with different tools and their uses.
Children under 10 should not use sharp tools like saws or potentially dangerous items like hammers unsupervised as there is a chance, they will injure themselves, this isn’t to say you can’t let them join in on those activities but be mindful that they’ll need close supervision. However, simple tasks like using a screwdriver or securing bolts with a small wrench.
Power tools are another contentious issue, while teenagers should be able to use some power tools with minimal supervision, younger children should not operate power tools without a strict level of supervision. For pre-teen children, any power tool use should be done hand in hand with a responsible adult to control the tool whilst your child gets used to operating it.
Beyond that, as a parent you know your children’s limits and abilities better than anyone else, so you can decide what projects and jobs they can be involved with, just make sure to err on the side of caution and provide some level of supervision.
Great DIY Projects To Get Them Started
New Window Blinds
There are plenty of opportunities to involve your kids in this DIY project no matter their age. For example, if you wanted a new made to measure Double Blind young children can help measure up the window, pre-teens can help pass items and even screw the blinds in place (with assistance) and teenagers can help use power tools to drill holes for the blinds’ screws.
General Home Maintenance
There are lots of ways to involve your children in home maintenance to give them a taste for DIY. With supervision children aged 10 and up should be able to help with basic plumbing tasks like unclogging a sink, small electrical tasks like changing a plug or fuse and other basic tasks like changing lightbulbs. Just make sure that when doing any tasks involving plumbing or electrics they’re supervised by a responsible adult with some level of experience.
Flat pack furniture is another great avenue to introduce your children to DIY, as they’re often simple to put together and lightweight enough for a child to work with. Under adult supervision, children from 10 and up should be able to help put flatpack furniture together, follow instructions and use tools like screwdrivers, just make sure any heavy lifting or power tool use is left to adults.
Why Is It Important To Teach Children DIY Skills?
The power of problem solving skills involved in DIY is so often overlooked.
That is such a transferable skill, to many other areas of life.
So many of my own DIY projects never finish complete as ‘plan A’ was designed, because I had to iterate and figure out an adaptation along the way because I don’t have a bracket big enough or the right shape for example. Teaching such skills to kids is invaluable.
A corollary of such problem solving is being sanguine in the face of unexpected ‘disasters’ or errors.
When you’ve cut the piece of wood just a bit too short, not swearing super-loudly in frustration, but saying “Hmm, ok, how to we work around this problem?”.
As a good friend of mine often says “There’s always a solution”.
That is such a good motto for life.