Would You Let Small Boys Play With Matches?

lit match with flame

I taught my 6 year olds how to light matches the other day. More importantly, I taught them how to put them out safely.

Do I recommend that everyone just run out and buy matches for their young sons? Nope.

However.

Hubby mentioned the other day how much older the boys seemed to act after they got the bb guns for Christmas. He’s right…they even did seem to stand a bit taller after that. (Ironically the younger boys rarely ask to shoot their guns. I haven’t figured that one out yet.)

I had that in mind when The Manager and the Captain asked if they could see the box of matches the older boys had used for a Scout event Saturday. After some careful thought, I got out the box of matches and had the boys fetch a small bowl of water. We sat down on the floor and I opened the box.

We looked at the matches together; they each got to hold one while we talked. The discussion included

  • how to light the matches
  • how to hold the match without burning the fingers
  • how the flame could travel along the wood
  • they are NEVER to touch matches without Hubby or me
  • how dangerous fire is
  • how quickly fire can move (they have experience with this)

After more discussion, I had each of them light a match and then extinguish it in the water. Surprisingly they were both hesitant to actually strike the match. I’m counting that a good thing. πŸ™‚

There was a small buzz of excitement when big brothers got home, and since then the matches haven’t even been mentioned. I’m figuring that’s also a good thing. The big boys were a little miffed because I never let them try out matches, but in their case there wasn’t anyone around using matches. The playing field changes when you have younger siblings involved.

So basically they’re trained in match management, the novelty has at least been reduced, and they’re not dealing with any kind of forbidden fruit sort of temptation. Was this the best idea on the planet? Time will tell. I wouldn’t have done it if I thought they would get into the matches later and burn down the house.

I don’t think they will.

What do you think? Have you addressed the “playing with matches” issue in your home?

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who teach their children to handle matches.

Image courtesy of Mred32 via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

View all contributions by

{ 17 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment


five × 8 =

CommentLuv badge

  • selena February 14, 2009, 8:42 am

    Great post! I think this is the great discussion with providing good steps of playing with matches.

    Reply
  • Food Delivery In Chicago February 15, 2009, 6:35 pm

    Kids and matches are a combination that forever scares me. A great friend … her kid got burned pretty badly one time playing with matches.

    Reply
  • office for rent in makati February 16, 2009, 12:04 am

    Nice post.Playing with fire is dangerous.

    Reply
  • scarletbreeze February 16, 2009, 7:47 am

    yes.. managing kids can be tuffer than anything.
    that too twin brothers..!

    Reply
  • Ekarzaen February 16, 2009, 2:11 pm

    I aggree. Kids should be avoided to play mathces. This is dangerous materials, and we’re as their parents must be take more attention about these matter. Regard..

    Reply
  • voip February 17, 2009, 3:58 pm

    Kids and matches are a devastating mix.
    but i love the way you put it.
    thanks for posting!

    Reply
  • francesca February 18, 2009, 6:23 am

    kids will always be kids. And I agree with you not to allow your boys to play with matches. Accidents can happen if with the right minds. I think what you did is the best way to educate your kids in order to avoid accidents like residential fires, especially when our houses are filled with easily combustible materials.

    Reply
  • Crissy February 19, 2009, 1:14 pm

    Amy,
    That is a wonderful lesson to teach the kids. We have taught our kids about the danger of fire and how they should not use matches or lighter unless either myself or my husband is around. They learned that around 4 and 5 so far we have not had any problems with fire or matches. I do believe that they now have a health respect for matches and fire and what it can do.

    Reply
  • Amy February 22, 2009, 12:50 am

    Selena, yes it has turned into a good discussion! Thanks.

    Food Delivery in Chicago, it scares me too. With the older boys having earned the privilege of using matches it’s harder to keep them out of the younger boys’ hands. That’s part of why I went ahead with the lesson. We NEVER let the older ones come anywhere near matches or fire at the age of 6. The conditions are different now.

    office for rent in makati, you’re right. I hope that the boys never do that unsupervised.

    scarletbreeze, yes it is tough. πŸ™‚ But we’re all surviving each other.

    Ekarzaen, we definitely don’t let them play. I’ve made a point of differentiating between toys and tools. Toys are played with. Tools are used as they were intended only, and no funny business. Matches are tools. Period.

    voip, thanks. You’re so right, and we’re being as careful as we can be.

    francesca, good points all. Even with training, I know the kids face the temptation to play with the matches.

    Crissy, it’s a fine line, isn’t it? We had the near fire experience last fall, so that made an impact as well. I believe most of the memory has faded for the boys though.

    Reply
  • Lorraine Anderson February 22, 2009, 11:26 am

    Satisfying a child’s curiosity can definitely prevent pitfalls in the future. Angelina Jolie’s mother bought her knives as a young child and she did pretty well after that. Thanks for sharing your insights πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  • Laura February 24, 2009, 12:27 pm

    Great post! I aggree… awesome lesson to teach the kids πŸ˜€

    Reply
  • 0845 numbers February 25, 2009, 11:39 am

    This is a interesting method.

    Not one I’ve tried before, but one I’m definitely willing to try πŸ™‚

    Thank you for this article.

    Reply
  • money maker February 25, 2009, 6:39 pm

    Thanks for the post. Hope to see more articles regarding this one. It will really be a big help.
    Thank you

    Reply
  • Doing business in the Philippines February 27, 2009, 5:08 am

    Well, Kids will always be kids but accidents may happened anytime.So kids should be careful.

    Reply
  • Amy March 1, 2009, 12:57 am

    Lorraine, I hope that works out for us especially in this case. It’s now been a few weeks since we used the matches and they haven’t asked to touch them again, nor have they even mentioned it. The older boys got a fire lighting flint thing and have practiced fires with Hubby, but even that wasn’t really interesting to the little guys. So far, so good. Of course we will have to remain vigilant.

    Laura, thanks! Nice to meet you.

    0845 numbers, we all have to do what works best for our own kids. I know of other children with whom this approach would be a big mistake.

    money maker, thank you.

    Doing business in the Philippines, yes we should all be careful. Even though they’ve had the lesson I still keep the matches as far out of reach as I can.

    Reply
  • Jordan March 4, 2009, 11:15 pm

    I think it’s a good idea to teach them at a young age because then if they ever find some laying around they know how to put them out and dont burn down the house.

    Reply
  • Amy March 16, 2009, 8:19 pm

    Jordan, long time no see! And yes that’s why I taught them. We’re super careful not to leave anything out anyway, but it’s a little bit of insurance that they’re trained to make the right choices. I know that’s no guarantee that they will, but it’s a little help.

    Reply