Repairing things: Teach your kids the basics

My toilets are problematic. Over the years they’ve had various filling and flushing problems. More than the norm I’d say. Note to self: read Consumer Reports before buying my next toilet. The handle of one toilet fell off yesterday. What to do? I’m a single mom and toilets are my nemesis, so I thought to employ my 12 year old daughter.


I have two toilets that are the same miserable model. So I asked my daughter to look at Toilet A (working handle) and then look at Toilet B (non-working handle), to determine the problem and hopefully find a solution. I told her I needed her help because ‘she’s good with mechanical things’. That was enough, she got right to work.

She soon discovered that a plastic piece had fallen off inside the tank. After looking at Toilet A (the working toilet) many times, and a few assembly missteps later, she fixed the handle. Afterwards, she was excited about her accomplishment and invited everyone to check out her handiwork. She fixed a toilet! She felt empowered with her new knowledge and skill.

Afterwards, I got to thinking… what a great teaching moment. My daughter will have many toilets in her lifetime and already she knows how to fix a handle. As parents, it’s good to remember that ordinary tasks can be great teaching moments. Repairing household items is an important life lesson, and one that I’m happy to pass on to my daughter. Now what can I get her to fix next? :-)

Repair something

The internet is full of information to help you repair most anything. Instead of throwing something out, replacing it, or picking up the phone to call a service person, try to repair it yourself and include your children in the process. It feels great to repair what you already have – it saves money too.

Have a great repair story? Add a comment.

Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair


3 thoughts on “Repairing things: Teach your kids the basics

  1. I LOVE this story! Good for you for repairing instead of replacing, and especially for enlisting your daughter’s help.
    I have so many friends with kids who don’t have to do any chores or anything and I don’t think their parents are doing them any favors. They’re not only going to be lost when they leave home, they’re robbing them of that sense of accomplishment they get from figuring things out like this.

    I can’t think of any good repair stories, but my husband does it all the time. I just called a friend whose toilet is out of order and was told it had to be replaced. I told her about your daughter. She thought it was a great story.

  2. You may be cleverer than you think (or you have reasons you didn’t include in your post). In addition to having something fixed for free, and teaching your child to fix, and teaching her a way to learn how to fix, you also implanted/reinforced an idea in her head – that’s she good at something. And not just any old something, something that girls are often discouraged from doing.

    Go you!

    (As it so happens, the handle on my toilet is loose and I’ve been wondering how to fix it. I’m using your idea of examining the other one.)

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