Home renovations can be extremely stressful at the best of times, but the process can be extra daunting if you’re living in your construction zone with kids. Don’t fear, there’s some good news: It’s totally doable. With advice from mums and interior design experts who have been through it before, here are some tips from safety precautions and home insurance to keeping the kids happy through all the chaos. Does the difficulty go up with kids involved? You bet. Will their routine be disrupted? Most definitely. Will there be tears? Yes. (Yours!). With the right planning, you’ll get through it, and it’ll be worth it!
Plan, plan, plan! If you can, try tackle one room at a time. Renovating a whole house with kids around would be way too stressful. Working on one room at a time ensures you can close the door on the mess at the end of the day. Even if you work on the ground-floor transformation, which may involve knocking down internal walls, make sure that you renovate all the bedrooms first. This will give you a calm and relatively dust-free environment to relax in with the kids.
Consider the season for your renovation. It would be a smart option to choose summer or spring as the season to renovate your house in so that you can benefit as much as you can from the good weather. Not only does this allow for your reno to run smoothly but also enables your kids to have the ability to hang out and play outside in the sunshine. Winter often restricts both construction workers and your children’s ability to go outside. Being stuck inside the house means boredom and boredom mean kids begin to feel frustrated causing them to misbehave. Keep children occupied at home with age-appropriate activities in renovation zones, as they are less likely to wander to work areas. Sealing off the work areas to keep the little ones away, but at the same time creating space for the rest of the house to move in. For a child-friendly zone, make sure the children are well supervised. Further, safety is an important consideration when renovating houses, especially if children are living in the house during reconstruction but keeping them away from damage is not always as easy as it seems. Children are quite inquisitive beings, the first step, of course, is to become aware of the dangers surrounding children during the renovation of the home. Something as simple as non-slip timber paint or covering new sharp corners with blue tack can save you a trip to the hospital!
Children can often feel neglected when major changes occur, and parents are tied up with other responsibilities. Both younger and older children may appreciate some one-on-one time to help them maintain a sense of normality and security. Younger children in particular may need extra cuddles and physical contact to get through the uncertainty of the renovation. This is particularly important for you and your partner, as house renovations can increase resilience in relationships, especially with children. It is important to explain to your children what happens and what to expect when strangers come to your home. Ask how they feel when people are in the house, familiarise them with the idea. When choosing a builder, ask about problems or concerns you have with children on the construction site. A good builder will mention ground rules for children, their own safety practices, and any experience they have with families living in a house while it is being rebuilt. Accessibility is really important, if bathrooms or the kitchen are ‘out of action’ areas, be sure to store some snacks or a water chiller in the kid’s playroom. This will make them feel more at ease, they also won’t need to constantly wander around or ask you for things.
Including your kids in the process ensures they are kept engaged and aware of exciting changes. This will impact them positively, to help them understand both the strategy going forward and the outcome. Letting the kiddos have a say in the design and planning to make it fun for them will make them feel like they have an important role in the new home. Therefore, they will be less likely to complain or feel neglected. Suggest picking out the color of their walls or some furniture for their playroom together, even picking timber colors for the new cubbyhouse!
If the stress of the home renovation is getting too much for you, you may turn to hiring a live in nanny. This way, the nanny can take your kids out for the day. Your children will get the opportunity to do activities outside of the renovated house so that when they come home, they will be super tired and ready for bed! This will allow you to recoup also. Children are good at sensing the tension, taking a break and time for yourself will be beneficial to the whole family.
It is important to be aware of your children’s health. If there is a lot of dust and fumes you may need to take your children to a full-time nanny or a family member’s house. This may be difficult to do but it is extremely important that your kid’s health is not compromised. If they come to visit the renovation, give them a mask to wear. Once you are close to the completion of the renovation, hire a portable air compressor to clean the air ahead of the move-in. This will allow for any unwanted air particles to be removed.
Commonly, lots of families leave a memory somewhere around the house, somewhat hidden. Something like putting handprints in wet cement and leaving it to dry down the side of the house, designing a veggie patch, or even writing your names and current height in the bedrooms on the walls. Don’t forget to have fun during the renovation. This is a big change for both you and your family. You will be making new memories, growing up, and growing closer in this new home. Try taking as many photos and videos of the kiddies getting involved, it will be something both you and them will treasure forever, giving you something to look back on when it is time to sell or they become adults and move out!
Best of luck with the reno!