If you’re a parent of young children, you likely believe that home renovations will have to wait until your kids are old enough to stay patient and flexible throughout the process. While it’s true that having kids around throws a few wrinkles into the mix, this doesn’t mean your renovation can’t still be simple and stress-free. Here are seven suggestions to help keep your kids entertained and simplify the renovation process.
1. One Room at a Time
Renovating the entire house at once will be extremely confusing for your kids, and having multiple rooms worked on at once also leaves them with fewer spaces to play in safely. This is why it’s best to take your renovation project one or two rooms at a time. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some rooms will be easier to renovate than others–bedrooms or playrooms, for example, will be complicated because your kids spend more time in these spaces. The easiest rooms to renovate with kids around tend to be kitchens, since your kids can always eat elsewhere, and bathrooms (as long as your home has more than one).
2. Get the Kids Involved
Young children tend to be more accepting of the renovation process if they understand what’s going on and feel like they’re involved. One option is to ask the contractors to show your kids around the construction equipment when it’s not in use. Many kids find tools and trucks fascinating, and if they seem interested you can buy them toy hard hats, tools and tool belts. If your children are old enough, let them feel like they have a say in the changes happening around the house. If one of their bedrooms is being renovated, for example, ask them what color they want the walls painted, or you might ask them for suggestions regarding the layout of another room. Whether you take their suggestions seriously or not is up to you!
3. Keep the Kids’ Schedules Full
One of the best ways to make renovating the house easier for you and your kids is to keep them busy as much as possible. If their week isn’t normally filled with after-school activities, schedule play dates with their friends or go out to dinners as a family. If the kids are off school, take the opportunity to plan a short vacation. Many parents also try to save renovations for the summer and take the family on an extended summer vacation. Whichever route you take, remember that nothing makes a renovation simpler than having everybody out of the house.
4. Always Have a “Play Room” Open
On the topic of keeping the kids entertained, having a designated ‘play room’ in the house is another good strategy. Not only will this help you distract your kids while renovations occur, but it will also keep them safely out of the way of power tools and machinery. If your family already has a playroom filled with games and toys, tell your kids that it’ll be their private ‘kids only’ clubhouse while the house is being worked on. If the play area is being renovated or if your kids usually play in their rooms, move their toys to a different space and get them excited about this ‘new’ room.
5. Look for Family-Friendly Contractors
When choosing a contractor for your renovation, it’s a clever idea to look for a company that’s used to working around children. Contractors that are good with kids can be a lifesaver; children will be quicker to accept changes around the house if the strangers doing the work are friendly and approachable. Contractors with experience working with families will also remember to keep tools out of the reach of children, and they will take additional precautions to keep your kids safe.
6. Plan “Picnics”
Some kids will be thrown off if they have to temporarily stop eating meals in the kitchen or dining room, but their anxiety can be relieved by planning in-home ‘picnics.’ Your kids won’t care about the changes if they’re caught up in the fun of eating dinner on the floor, and it gives them an activity to look forward to while the house is being worked on. If the weather is good, you can also have a series of traditional picnics outside, or you can take it one step further and have ‘campouts’ where the family makes s’mores around a fire and sleeps in a tent in the backyard.
7. Have them Sleep Somewhere Else
One of the most common problems when it comes to renovating a house with kids in it is getting the children to sleep. The changes happening to your home can cause your kids a anxiety, throw their schedules off and make it more difficult for them to fall asleep, all of which can add up to a lot of added stress for parents. Sometimes the best option is to have the family–or at least your kids–stay with aunts, cousins or grandparents while the house is being renovated. As long as the place the kids stay is familiar to them, they’ll probably feel more comfortable than they do in a changing home and having them out of the house will also eliminate safety concerns.
By following these expert tips, you can make your home renovation simpler and less stressful for both yourselves and your kids. However, you decide to go about renovating the house, be sure to choose an experienced contractor, such as Australia’s Gold Coast VeraCon (Veraniece Construction Corp). Few strategies will make your renovation easier than finding a contractor that knows how to work around families with young children.