Railway modeling bestows lots of benefits outside the fun the activity entails. From skill development, unleashing creativity, meeting new people, relieving stress, to providing a sense of fulfillment, it’s no surprise that the hobby enticed many individuals across the years. So, if you’re looking for a pastime for your children that will hone their skills and artistry and inform them about the world and history whilst allowing them to enjoy, there’s no reason not to introduce them to model trains.
However, it may sound easy, but doing so can be a daunting task, especially for your kids’ safety. Fostering their interest is another story, with the abundance of other forms of digital entertainment available today. Luckily, you can still successfully engage them in the hobby while prioritizing their safety. Read below and discover some of the best tips on how you could safely introduce your child to railway modeling.
Build your kid’s interest
It might be tempting to educate and show your kid about making model trains, but you should always take your child’s age into account. If your little one is below five years old, it’s best to focus on building their interest first. An excellent way to introduce them to trains is by letting your kid watch “Thomas & Friends” and getting him Thomas trains. But, see to it that you actively participate during their playtime as it is your opportunity to impart small valuable bits of information about trains.
Alternatively, you could also bring your kid to a railroad museum where they can witness how magnificent trains are and see them up close. You can also ride actual trains as that will allow your kid to experience the joy of being in one. Thus, deepening his passion for trains.
The ages 5 to 6 is the ideal period to get your kid some hands-on railway modeling experience. At this time, your child is capable enough to handle small pieces or parts and follow directions, which can significantly contribute to his safety.
Of course, be sure to start things slow. Begin with simple tools and tasks first, such as sanding the wood or adding colors to the scenery. Once he feels more confident, you can entrust him to a specific part of the layout to practice his skills. Oversee what he is doing and correct any mistakes in a nice way, then commend any task he did excellently to provide him a sense of accomplishment.
As your kid grows, you can move to more challenging tasks that involve more complicated tools, such as designing the layout, laying the permanent tracks, adding the wiring, and testing the operation. Keep in mind that your child’s learning is a step-by-step process, so be sure to devote enough patience.
One common mistake many parents make is becoming too complacent with their children as days pass by. While you may have seen significant development from your kid since day one, it’s not a reason to let your guard down. Remember, working on railway models, especially on starter kits, means handling small pieces that they could end up swallowing or they could step on, leading to an accident.
You’ll never know when mishaps could happen, so it’s best to supervise your little ones at all times. Educate them about each tool, how it works, and how it should be used. Then, inform them about different parts, where they go, and where they shouldn’t be. If you want to be extra careful, you can let your kid wear safety gear as he handles modeling tools used for striking, cutting, or drilling. Sufficient safety gear will include:
- Safety glasses
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Closed-toe shoes and boots
- Hair covers or hair
With proper protection, supervision, and care, you can be sure that all things can go smoothly, preventing any problems that may kill your kid’s interest in model train building.
Ask other family members or friends to join
Another way to introduce your kid safely to model trains is by inviting other family members to join. The more participants, the more individuals are there to look out for your kid’s welfare. Plus, more people can showcase their expertise and impart their knowledge to your child, allowing him to develop his skills faster.
It will also be more fun for your kid as he can work with other people and start building connections. As he sees that his loved ones and friends are also interested in the hobby, it will also be easier for him to establish more substantial interest and attachment. The memories it will create will undoubtedly be valuable, and he will cherish the time all of you spent building your railway models.