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Have you noticed that fewer young people can diagnose and repair even simple, ordinary breakdowns, like a clogged toilet or a flat tire? Their lack of “handiness” is bound to land them in more than a few tight spots—and paying a lot of money to people who have these basic skills.

Make a point of introducing your own children to the joy and wisdom of fixing something broken rather than buying something new. Here’s how to start:

  • Build something together, like a bird house. Or enlist your child’s help as you assemble a store-bought bookcase or chair. 
  • Let your kids help whenever you do maintenance or repairs around the house and yard or on the car. Even a small child can hold a flashlight or help pull weeds.
  • Give toys that encourage kids to make things, from crafts to woodworking projects. It’s in the making that we learn how things work.
  • Enroll your children (and yourself, if you need some help in the handy department) in classes that home-repair retailers offer.
  • Teach safety when they’re young so your kids will know how to properly handle tools, climb a ladder and tinker with electronics when the time comes.
  • Let your children listen in when you talk with service technicians so they understand how much it costs to hire help, when it’s really necessary and how to get what they’re paying for.

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