How to Teach Your Child to Fix Breaks and Rips


Things break. The first tendency of a parent is to fix the break, mend the torn garment, put the arm of the doll back on, sew on the button, or clean up the mess on the floor.

Some parents become angry at the child for careless­ness. While that may be warranted on occasion, a par­ent also needs to be aware that some mishaps in life truly are accidents.

Rather than be angry or resort to remedying the situ­ation yourself, try a third option. Let your child repair the damage or clean up the results as best he or she can.

Small children can learn to use a sponge to clean up spilled milk. They may not get it all, but let them make a genuine effort. Older children can learn how to sweep up broken glass.

Through the years, make it a point to teach your child certain fix-it skills. Teach your child how to sew on a button and how to put in a hem. Teach your child how to use a hammer and how to glue things together. Teach your older child how to replace light bulbs and fuses.

Again, not all skills are appropriate for young chil­dren. Teach your child skills as they become appropri­ate to his or her level of manual dexterity, muscle coor­dination, and sense of judgment.

When mechanical items break, encourage your child to explore with you the potential for repairing them. Don’t just discard it with the assumption that it can’t be fixed or that you can’t fix it! Have a home-repairs book on your bookshelf and consult it. Let your child take on the challenge of replacing a transistor or screwing to­gether pieces that may have come apart.

Teach your child the difference between items that are worn, and items that are worn-out. Some of the most valuable antiques on the market today are items that are well-worn, but which still have value.

Teach your child the difference between items that are worth fixing and items that should be replaced. Count the cost over the long run. It may be cheaper to buy a new vacuum cleaner, for example, than to contin­ually repair an old one. Explain your reasoning to your child for fixing or replacing an item.

The child who learns to fix things learns that when things break they often can be fixed. This is a lesson that translates to relationships fairly easily as a child matures.

Give your child the opportunity to fix things and to use things that have been repaired. He’ll have a greater appreciation for the way things are made and the way they work.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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