Whatever it was,
"The First Time” stays with you, the rest of your
life. The same rule applies to one's first introduction to the model
railroad. Many starter sets, sadly enough, are most of the time rather more an
obstacle than a promoter. The perpetual circular motion of the
trajectory often causes a premature end to this wonderful hobby.
"Closed due to Boredom”. Sometimes Forever. What is left over is
frustration, at both the receiver's and the giver's side, even though it
was meant well from each and all. It is important to start this hobby
the right way. Therefore consider a couple of things.
When you buy that first start set, ensure that, what you buy, serves the
receiver's needs. At first site, starter sets might seem all alike, but
many of them have different entertainment qualities. If it is bought for
the (grand) kids you might want to consider taking them to casually see
the set at first. The great thing about kids is, that they are quite
outspoken about their tastes.
Now-a-days competition in the toy world is huge, to say the least. Many
starter sets have already extended digital capabilities. Understanding
these completely, might even be a challenge for parents themselves. Give
yourself some research time. You could very well be giving your (grand)
hobby to last a Lifetime"
add a starter set, ensure that you have the right pieces to truly extend
the existing layout. Extension sets are often made to fit one certain
situation. Try to stick to that scenario. Do not overload the track with
rolling stock. Trains need to have the space to run.
Play with your
kids. Especially in the early stages. Play with them, build with them,
think along with them, but keep one thing clearly in mind: allow them
the controls. If you find yourself at the knobs most of the time, do
yourself a huge favor: buy your own set of controls. Possibilities in
digital model rail- roading are unlimited therefore use them. Teach them
theme's, safety as well as the purpose of rail travel, passenger
and cargo. Build landscapes and add accessories that can capture their
dreams even if that means that your expensive chess set becomes the
passenger supply for the young stationmaster. Let them combine all their
other toys as they see fit. Remember, you can always clear them off once
they have gone to bed, and you satisfy your own model railroad
pleasures. Just don't forget to put them back.
In today's society kids are accustomed to the computer. In many cases
they are more capable than our own parents, with regards to computers
that is. So, incorporate their knowledge. Use the home computer and have
them expand their play capabilities. They play Nintendo better than most
of us, so a complex layout with extensive timetable won't scare them
away. In the contrary: they will love it. It will be a challenge for
them. Let them feast on these unlimited possibilities. In the meantime
you can occupy your time building "your own model kit" for evening use.
They will let you know when and how the train rolls in the station.
Of course I would not want to discourage them from building their own accessories.
Here again I would like to stress the importance of letting them evolve
gradually. Let them glue the roof to the bottom of the house. Experience
is in most cases the best (and only) way to learn. Guidance is very
successful after a guarded experimental fantasy project. It might lead
to a successful architectural design career. Just make sure they
don't superglue themselves permanently to the layout.
Above all, don't
get to serious with your kids at play. They have an undisturbed
relationship with their toys. They still posses the innocence, the
fantasy we often long for. They are not yet limited by adult logic
and/or responsibility. They live in their own world. One where the
possibilities are truly without limit. Where life revolves around toys.
The life we only look back upon with a hidden, strong desire to relive.
So don't get upset when your youngster does a crash test with your
beloved Borsig. Don't come unglued when you find out that your son has
decided to build a 60% grade where the object for the passenger train
is, to jump the river (Donald Duck included). Most decoders don't like
this treatment. Remember: It's not the end of the world. Only your
pocketbook. Enjoy every minute, they'll never forget.
Even although it's tempting, let them have those controls. Empower them.
There is nothing more frustrating to a child. If you don't, all they are
left with, is watching you. The ensured way to Boredom. Do yourself and
your kid(s) a favor: buy a digital starter set and all will be
satisfied. Don't think that you won't end up playing with it, because
you will. Do not kid yourself!
Think beyond today. Don't buy everything at once. Dreams must stay. It
is the only way to longevity. Good planning is part of the process. Even
if you do this for yourself. Leave some imagination in place. A model
layout can grow with age and in years to come. Focus on making the right
choice for either your kids, and/or yourself. Choose the scale, system
and brand that suits either one or both/all of you the best. Inform
friends of your/your kid(s) hobby so that they can easily be a part of
it too: birthday, X-mas present, graduation, etc. Once again remember:
you could be starting
hobby to last a Lifetime"
for which they might be grateful the rest of their live,