You CAN renovate & DIY your home with kids under your feet.
The thought of completing a renovation or DIY task with children can be an adventure to say the least. However thanks to Coronavirus with most of the world in lock down or isolation currently, maybe now is a good time to start the process and get the kids involved.
Be Realistic, It’s not The Block
From the very outset of planning any renovation or DIY you need to factor in that the kids, and their daily routines, won’t cease to exist. Even in our changing world kid’s will still need some kind of routine whilst staying at home with you. Rather than working around them get them involved in simple age appropriate tasks.
Ever had your child finger paint on a wall you just finished rolling?
Be realistic on what a child can complete and the time frame. Currently we all have time on our hands so spread out the tasks to keep them BUSY.
Our 11 Year old is currently designing our new vege patch and will be putting it all together with me. However my 16 year old is planning her room painting. Yes she has been taught how to use a paint brush – she can paint every single line on the vj (the painful part) before I roll.
You’re not going to have a 3 year old paint a wall. Keep it age appropriate. Also ask for their input and let them have a say so they feel a sense of achievement when it’s done.
No Go & Safe Zones
Small children (and let’s be honest big children!) don’t understand safety and work zones so put in place simple visual rules. This also applies to my older kids.
Tape off no go zones with red tape on the floor and how about “CAUTION” tape you can purchase at Bunnings to close off the area as well – makes it a little fun for them. Why not add a “Danger Zone”sign for the full effect.
We have a “Safe Zone” as well where they collect the tools and equipment they need for the day as well as understanding and learning about cleaning and putting away your “tools of the trade” at the end of each activity. Inadvertently this also teaches us about safety and no go zones during Coronavirus.
Make it Fun!
Turn any task for them into something fun! If your little kids are attracted by all the cool tools you will use why not get them a few toy replicas so they feel part of the project? And if you are worried about them ruining their clothes, kit them out in something old – a “work uniform”.
Modify for Kids
Since the kids are on site and keen to be involved why not list on a chart some of the activities they can be involved in. 1 Chart for each kid on a wall. My suggestions for easy ways to include kids are
- Painting brickwork with water
- Helping to wipe clean windows with a microfibre rag
- Using a tape measure
- Sweeping with a child-size broom
- Involve in prepping surfaces – Sweep down fences and walls before painting
- Ask to help you plant new garden beds
- Appoint them as design expert –Make a little badge and tell them you need their ‘expert advice’ for helping to choose everything from tiles to lights -they will love it! Even if it’s making online shopping choices right now it’s still a great exercise for them to learn.
- Get them involved in sorting out the “kids tool” area – make a sign etc.
- Prep and clean areas
- Simple painting
- Design and measure their rooms
- Pick paint colours for their rooms
- Photograph and video the process on their phone
- Make A family video of the task for you all to watch later
- Make them site manager of the little ones.
- Have them be the family chef and prepare lunch and even dinner if older for the “workers”
My top tips
- Take it one room or task at a time. “Don’t go for a whole-house reno or huge DIY project with kids; focus on specific tasks.
- Think it through. Break it down
- Encourage your child’s involvement and provide lots of reassurance.
- Relax your standards – it’s only temporary. Renovations can bring dust, sand and mess into your home – and attempting to stay on top of the cleaning can be exhausting.
- Schedule time out from the reno or task area – a movie, book or down time for everyone – there is life away from your reno or project to stop them getting bored.
- Coronavirus is an opportunity to spend more time with your family – value it.
Follow our renovation project on Facebook over at Salt Brighton and see how we work through Reno and DIY projects with 3 kids.
Melanie Grace is an interior stylist and serial renovator – you can find out more at Stagency