Most of us sacrifice so much for our families that we wind up not having much of a social life outside of work and home. I didn’t want my hobby to get in the way of family, so I’ve always made a concentrated effort to include my kids in the process. I’ve done so since they were itty bitty. As soon as they were old enough to stand and hold a vacuum hose, I put them to work. Here are some of my thoughts on how you can include your kids in your detailing obsession.
The first job I get my kids started on is filling the bucket. That is something easy that any kid can do. It makes them feel good to make the bubbles. Start them out by just filling it, but as they get older then you can start teaching them about which soap to use for different cars.
The next easiest thing for little kids to do is wipe down the wheels after you have washed them. Just give them a microfiber and tell them to get the drips off. This will train their little fingers to be very detailed as well as getting the experience of wiping things down.
Graduate them from wheels to getting the drips that collect under the rear deck lid and drip out of the gas cap. It saves a lot of time to have them chase those drips around for you.
I would normally say to start them on washing the car, but they need to be a little older. Once they get tall enough, or if you start them when they are four or five, then they can start by washing the bumpers at least. I’ve found that those are more durable as far as paint goes and there is less chance that they are going to damage anything.
Of course, have them get more experience by washing other things too.
I’ve had my boy clay a few bumpers in his day too. Again, because the paint is more durable, I don’t worry about him damaging anything. It is great when you have a car with bugs on the bumper or around the fog lights and you just want to keep the little guy busy for awhile. If the car is low enough, you can even start teaching him how to do it right after they get some experience.
Before you freak out that I have him working on a $150K Porsche, you should know the owner is a good friend of mine and he was standing there the whole time laughing.
Vacuuming is another great task to start kids out on. I started Erik out young as did I with his 2 year old brother. They are both expert vacuum operators at this point.
Clearly child labor laws don’t apply at OCDetails. lol
Interior detailing is something your kids can help out with too. I like letting my kids loose with a bottle of Meguiar’s Quick Interior Detailer. It is safe on everything and it isn’t that expensive, so I don’t worry that they hold the bottle 2 inches from the surface when they spray. (they learn)
Windows are also a good thing, but you’ll probably have to go over those again for sure. It is a good thing to have them do since it is their fingerprints all over the place anyway. My boy keeps his area of the van much cleaner knowing he is responsible for detailing it if he makes a mess.
Waxing by hand is something I’ll let my boy do to my bike or on the bumpers, but since he can’t reach the entire panel on many cars, I tend to do most of the waxing myself.
It takes awhile before they can be let loose with a polisher too, but once you have gone this far with them, try talking them out of a turn to hold the machine for a couple minutes.
Buffing off the wax is also something they are good at. Erik’s job is to go over the car when I am done and make sure I haven’t missed any spots. This goes along with their drip spotting tasks.
And of course, let’s not forget about the cleanup. They love helping put things away. I’m not ready to let them loose on the cleaning of the pads, but Erik figured out the Pad Washer right after I got it out of the box and assembled.
So the point is that you should include your kids in your detailing hobby. Don’t necessarily let them run loose in customer cars, but let them help maintain the family fleet. It will teach them more than you realize. Work ethic, cleanliness, team work, and a love for the best darn job in the world!
I’ve tried to include my daughter. Erik has tried too. She is 5 now and finally has the attention for it. She prefers to supervise though…
With two playful brothers helping as well, she usually just ends up like this…
So most of the time she just supervises and lets us know what we should be doing. lol
I believe she is reminding us of the virtues of using microfiber instead of t-shirts. lol Gotta love kids, I tell ya.