As parents, we have the greatest amount of influence on our children and can be wonderful role models for them. I’m always looking for “teachable moments” and sometimes I forget that the everyday tasks teach my children more than any fabricated activity or game.
By allowing children to watch us work on our home improvement projects and encouraging them to help out when it’s appropriate we are teaching them extremely valuable skills:
1. Names of tools and for what they’re used – talk to your child while you work, explain what you’re doing, name the tools and their purpose. Asking your child to pass you tools or materials is a great way to involve them in a project.
2. Allow them to make mistakes and get dirty – what little kid hasn’t wanted to jump into a pile of leaves or climb to the top of a mound of topsoil? Sure, it will add some time to your task but it also gives them the hands-on sensory experience that they are looking for.
3. Personal safety, safe work habits – children learn by example and seeing their role models take safety seriously will teach them good habits from the start.
4. Good work habits and work ethics – home improvement projects force us to take on a task from start to finish. They also show our kids that we are able to accomplish tasks that we set our minds to, and therefore, so can they. And finally, we all know that children love to mimic the adults in their lives. If you roll out of bed on the weekend, turn on a computer and sit there all day, they will be asking for screen time too. But, if you grab your tools, head to the basement to clean out your furnace filters and make sure your heating system is ready for winter, they are more likely going to want to “work” on projects of their own.
What could be more rewarding than watching your little one pick up their toy tools and say, “I’m going to build a deck, just like daddy.” Or have them ask when you can work on furnace repairs together next. Sounds odd, but the more they see you working on your DIY projects, the more they’ll want to do with you. And what could be better than raising a generation of children ready and able to take on whatever task needs to be completed?
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