Help kids build money-saving skills with DIY home improvement projects

With school out for summer and a bunch of seasonal projects, the time's right for getting young do-it-yourselfers involved in home improvement plans.

Working together to make a repair or build something new not only teaches lifelong skills and builds confidence, but also gives kids a sense of accomplishment and renewed pride in the home you share.

Select a project together: Whether it's an easy fix-it project, a simple gardening chore or an opportunity to redecorate, every DIY project is a valuable chance to learn. Kit-based programs like Red Toolbox are also available, and help you learn together through three discrete skill levels, starting with very simple tasks and progressing to more advanced techniques. Along the way, parent and child have fun working together and create useful, decorative items that make great gifts.

Plan and shop: Talk through the project and shopping needs with your young assistant, and then head for the hardware store together. While you're there, give your kid a chance to get acquainted with the aisles of supplies as they help search for the items on your list. Your courteous questions of store staff are also great learning opportunities, and reminders that we all need a little help once in a while.

Prepare the project zone: As you get ready to begin your project, emphasize safety on the job and make sure you're both properly suited up and accessorized for the task at hand. Safety glasses should definitely be part of the scene, and you can find them in sizes especially for young assistants.

Choose tools: Your child's age and the complexity of the project will determine which tools they can safely handle, but there's always a way to get them involved, even if they keep busy with a few simple items or kid-sized tools while you work with the more complicated stuff nearby. Remember, anything you do to instill confidence and a can-do attitude will be invaluable down the line.

Bringing these valuable lessons into summer routines doesn't take much extra time or effort, and delivers ample opportunity for quality time with your helpers.

Tom Kraeutler is the AOL'S Home Improvement Editor and co-author of My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. He delivers home improvement tips each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program.


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