Remodeling with kids is no walk in the park. With a house in chaos mode, construction ruckus, and kids to care for, you could easily lose your head! Use these tips and tricks to help you and your kids survive the remodel and have some fun along the way!
When it comes to remodeling, I like to think that I’m a bit of an expert. We have remodeled four houses – all before having kids (well, I was pregnant with Lily when we started stage one of our current house remodel).
Recently, however, we undertook the task of a full kitchen remodel, and a master bath remodel. And let me tell you, remodeling with kids is a whole different ball game!
Throughout our last remodel, I learned a lot about how to deal with renovation stress while also having a three-year-old with her own concerns!
I have a previous post about how to live in (survive) a home renovation. A lot of these tips still apply, but when kids come into the picture, you have to get even more strategic!
Remodeling With Kids – 10 Tips To Survive A Remodel!
I have the inside scoop on how to help kids (and yourself) survive a significant renovation. Though it can be majorly stressful, home renovations can also be fun for kids!
1. Plan Ahead
Decide ahead of time what project you are working on and be reasonable about if you will need to leave your home.
If you are remodeling a single bathroom that can be sealed off or working on your garage, it may be feasible for your family to stay in the home with some small shifts, such as all using the hall bath temporarily.
Still, it may be necessary for you to leave, even if it’s just for a few days. For example, during your demo day, you may want to have the kids sleep over at their grandparents’ house or check into a hotel for a few days until the debris is removed.
This is also the optimal time to take a vacation – we camped several times!
If you are staying in your home (or even a hotel), it can help to meal plan. Think of things that are easy to eat and make.
Try an easy crock pot meal by adding salsa and chicken and letting it cook for you! All you need to do is add tortillas and shredded cheese. You can also try bagged salads with rotisserie chicken or even overnight oat jars!
Check out this post for some of my favorite quick and easy meals.
2. Be Realistic
This is a tip that I learned the hard way. I was fully planning on camping out in a spare bedroom and keeping my daughter in her own room.
However, when we saw the sheer chaos of demo day from not just one but two major projects, I realized we couldn’t stay in our home that night or for many nights following. Luckily, my parents are local and were happy to host.
After spending a few weeks with them, we house-sat for a friend and then stayed with her for a while when she returned. So, figure out where you will sleep and be realistic about it.
Plus, make sure you get a REALISTIC timeline from your contractor – whatever they tell you, add 1-2 weeks! And if you are doing the project yourself, double your expected timeline. You can always cut your alternative plan short and come back home earlier!
3. Work Quickly When Remodeling With Kids
When remodeling with kids, time is of the essence! I tend to make decisions as I go and see what I feel works best at the moment. Time, however, is a luxury you don’t have with a kid – you need to have things done as quickly as possible!
For some (like us!), this meant hiring out the majority of the work for the first time ever! In fact, we hired two different crews so each could be working on one project (one in the master bath, one in the kitchen).
Unfortunately, the bathroom crew ended up being pretty awful (more on that in another post soon), but at least they got the plumbing roughed in and the new layout set before they took off and stranded us.
Even if you are doing the work yourself, help is available to those who ask! Try reaching out for some help from friends and family to knock out bigger tasks faster.
Though remodeling is hard work, it can also be fun! You never know who may be excited to lend a helping hand.
4. Introduce Your Kids To The Contractors
It can be super unnerving having strangers in your space all the time. This is especially true for kids who may not even know what’s going on. Beyond awkward encounters, kids could become pretty fearful of running into these strangers.
When remodeling with kids, make sure to make proper introductions between your kids and the contractors who will be in and out of your home. A simple introduction can quickly turn these strangers into pals!
5. Keep The Routine The Same
To avoid TOTALLY throwing off your kids, keep as much of your routine the same as you can. Yes, your house is in total upheaval, and you may be living somewhere else, but you can still keep your routine somewhat normal.
Your kids should continue to participate in the same activities, go to their usual school, and follow similar routines as they normally do. This means keeping a consistent bedtime, after-school rituals, and dependable mealtimes.
6. Talk To Your Kids
When remodeling with kids, it’s a good idea to have an upfront and age-appropriate conversation about what’s going on, where you’re going, and what the end result will be.
My daughter was totally freaked out by the massive hole where our kitchen used to be, but we showed her Youtube videos and explained what was happening.
It was definitely still really weird for her, but she started to understand that we were “fixing” the house.
7. Designate Your Kids A Safe Space!
It can feel near impossible to get away from a renovation. On days when kids need to be home but are in desperate need of a break from the mess, they need a safe space to go to.
Try designating a space that is for kids only! This can be their bedroom (if it’s not part of the reno), a backyard treehouse, a little tent, or even a spot with a few throw pillows.
This space should be a construction-free zone and filled only with your kid’s things like their favorite toys. This setup will let kids have their own special space that they can go to when the renovation gets a little too crazy!
8. Include Your Child
Remodeling is a way better experience when the whole family is involved! Make your kid an active participant in the remodel by keeping them busy.
You can let your kids help or “help” make design choices (i.e., lead the witness). Giving them a choice in the design process can help bring them a sense of control that is easy to lose during a chaotic renovation.
You can lead their decisions by narrowing down their choices to a few options (make sure you like them all!).
Big kids can also take part in the dirty work! Ask for their expert assistance in sweeping up the construction site or a supervised hammering of a nail or two.
If you’re demolishing a wall, let your kids get creative with crayons! They will have so much fun coloring on the wall before demolition.
For even more fun, deem your kid the “site supervisor” – construction hat and all. Just don’t blame me if they start to get a little bossy. Power can go to anyone’s head!
9. Make It Fun!
The trick to successful remodeling with kids is to create positive associations for them with the construction. That way, they’re not stressed every time they hear a power drill – they’re excited!
Remodeling can mean fun camping trips, helping out with construction, or maybe eating their favorite fast food.
By making a remodel a family effort with a focus on fun (when you can), kids should get on board pretty quickly!
10. Get Out Of The House
If you want to save everyone’s sanity, get out of the house as much as you can! On days when contractors are doing major work, you’ll want to abandon ship for a little bit.
Use these times to find new hangouts for you and your kids.
I personally love a trip to the library. It’s free and air-conditioned, and kids can be entertained for hours exploring the stacks. Also, libraries often have fun events like storytime read-alouds and summer reading programs!
You also take kids to the park or public swimming pool when the weather is cooperating!
Final Thoughts On Remodeling With Kids
Remodeling is stressful – with or without kids. I hope you can use these tips to give you some foresight on how to survive the remodel and include your kids in the fun!
Let me know how you’ve survived a major remodel in the comments down below!
Check Out More Remodeling Posts
- Best Kitchen Cabinet Pulls For Your Kitchen Remodel
- DIY Subway Tile Backsplash
- Before and After – Our Bath Remodel With Brushed Gold Features
- Kitchen Remodel: Small Kitchen Layout On A Budget
Tania Griffis is an accomplished writer, blogger, and interior designer with a Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma. She started her popular blog, Run to Radiance, in 2011, demonstrating her design expertise through the personal remodeling of six houses to millions of readers across the globe.
Tania also owns The Creative Wheelhouse, a respected ghostwriting agency for bloggers, further showcasing her talent for creating engaging and informative content.