In talking with some of my woodworking friends on this subject, I learned that most were not comfortable with kids being in their shops because of safety concerns. Granted, there are extra precautions that must be taken when kids are present, but don’t let this keep you from introducing woodworking to your kids, grandchildren, or even the kids up the street. And if you’re a parent or grandparent who doesn’t have a lot of knowledge around woodworking, but your kids have an interest, don’t let fear of them getting hurt keep you from teaching them.
It is up to us as adult woodworkers to pass our knowledge down to those that show interest. If we don’t, who will? Our schools? Doubtful. Find a child to nurture and teach what you know. Don’t be afraid to let them in because they “might” get hurt. How did you learn?
Here are somethings to keep in mind when working with kids in your shop:
- Make sure all your power tools are unplugged. That way you don’t have to worry about it.
- Make sure that all the blades on your power tools are covered or lowered so they’re not exposed to little fingers.
- Stick to hand tools in the beginning no matter how old the kids are. They need this foundation anyway.
- Don’t leave your kids unsupervised in the shop no matter how comfortable you are with their knowledge, maturity level, or skill. Accidents can and will happen.
- Using hand tools like hand saws can wear kids out quickly. Watch for this, step-in and help out during these times. When kids (and adults) get tired, mistakes are more likely to occur.
- With that last point being said, however; don’t do all the work for kids just because YOU CAN! Let them do the work they can, and be willing to let them make mistakes on their own. This one is tough for us parents, trust me, I know.
- First and foremost, make it fun for them! Let them have some say into what they build. There are only so many bird houses a kid can make.
The video that we shot on shop safety for kids is not all encompassing, not even close. But, it will give you some good points to help you get started. My hope for this video is take it will make you more comfortable with having kids in your shop and for your kids to have a good and safe time with you.
If you have any questions or comments about the video after you’ve viewed it, let me know.
-- Craig, www.WoodworkersResource.com (Where Information meets Inspiration)