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You also have a lot of competitive parents these days that will actively steer their kids away from hobby like items such as trains trying to push them to compete in all the various sport activities available.  I have literally had friends like this growing up.  "no you don't need a train set..."   very common.

@Mike W. posted:

You also have a lot of competitive parents these days that will actively steer their kids away from hobby like items such as trains trying to push them to compete in all the various sport activities available.  I have literally had friends like this growing up.  "no you don't need a train set..."   very common.

Sad to say, what Mike posts is really true.  Sports - or other "community" activities - certainly look better to admissions committees on a college application, for example, than "model railroading".

@rthomps posted:

Sad to say, what Mike posts is really true.  Sports - or other "community" activities - certainly look better to admissions committees on a college application, for example, than "model railroading".

Yes it does, but model railroading promotes problem solving, planning, and task completion.  Admirable traits for future employers.  Unfortunately most personnel departments do not make the connection.   

Yeah and of course one can like sports and model trains.   I do notice that YouTube is full of great railfan channels from people that are under 20 so they do exist.  The people behind these channels know more about train operations, train numbers and locomotive numbers that I ever will.  Many large groups of railfans are also in the born since 1995 crowd.  Its safe to assume they will or do buy model trains.

Last edited by Mike W.

A few thoughts...

I spent most of my career working with, directly and indirectly, kids. (Volunteered for the Boy Scouts at the District level as well.) I can tell you that some of what I’m reading here are some common behaviors, not mistakes, that aren’t really going to work. You have to remember your audience.

Kids are fascinated by model trains. The problem is that a LOT of what we “play” with are things that are too expensive for them to play with. If you’re going to have kids/grandkids around the layout you have to have a train for them to run. My son LOVED the TMCC missile engine when he was little and would carefully cue it up to shoot dad every chance he had. He understood the difference between “his” trains and “my” trains and would offer to let me “drive” his from time to time and I would let him run mine.

There’s a Brute on eBay right now that a three year old took a baseball bat to. The seller refers to the poor kid as a “demon child” or similar but it’s an unfortunate example of not setting the stage for success. Why the three year old had a bat near the $1600-2000 set is a bit beyond me but there needed to be a train for the toddler to have as “theirs” instead of sharing an “adult” train with the precocious little wrecking ball.


That sets the stage for responsibility. My son would start using the remote when it was his turn to run “my” trains but little fingers aren’t quite as dexterous as an adults. Sometimes he would spin the dial/throw the handle too fast and I needed to be ready to hit the stop button. The key though is to prepare them for the moment and don’t berate or yell at them when they make the inevitable mistake. Save them from a disaster and the relief and gratitude is heart warming.

I had a place in the middle of my old layout for my son to sit. He could watch everything, participate and was involved. It wasn’t ever time I forced him to participate in. I would head downstairs and then he would gravitate to me, curious and wanting to help.

Finished layouts are fine but asking a child to help, even with the most mundane tasks, gets them involved and invested. I used to pay my son to clean the track. He got a nickel for every piece he got clean with the eraser and the cloth. It had to pass a white glove test but he was proud of it and loved the jingle of nickels in his pocket. Later he would help me drill and glue foam board.

There are a LOT of people in our hobby prone to being... crotchety. They are often quite removed from some of the younger folks by several decades. They forget the first rule of introducing someone to a new game: “Let the Wookie win.” No one wants to play a game they got their *** handed to them at the first time they played. No kid wants to go back to run trains with someone who went out of their way to say “Don’t touch,” “Leave that alone,” or “Just press that button.” If you bury fun loving little kids beneath stifling rules, setting yourself directly in conflict with what they are l, then you have no one to blame but yourself.

The best games are fast, fun and furious. The best train layouts have something for everyone. They are our own little worlds but the best of them speak to all ages. If you open your scale world, in every aspect, to younger kids the rewards are heartwarming.

My two cents.

Jim

Last edited by Yojimbo

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