Tips For Managing Home Improvement Projects With Kids

So you’ve decided to take on a big home improvement project. Painting the walls, redoing a room, renovating a bathroom or kitchen. Whether you are doing it yourself or hiring professionals, there are ways to make the chaos of your project *slightly* less, and ease the inconvenience for yourself and your kids. 

My family recently hired a company to paint the entire interior of our home. Our current paint job was cheap and not holding up to the little artists who thought markers on the walls would add to our decor. We wanted a refresh and an upgrade to something more durable for our family. Painting your whole house is a big job, as are most renovation projects, whether you hire someone or do it yourself. Here is what I learned to help the process along the way.

Tips For The Home Improvement Job

dog stands in room being paintedTake photos of the rooms that will be changed before you start the project.

Taking photos of the “before” of your home serves a couple of purposes. It gives you a nice satisfying before and after when the project is done, and it helps you remember exactly where everything was in your home if you plan to move it. In my case it really helped in remembering which of our photos and wall décor went where when we were putting things back in order after painting was complete.

Start preparing a few days before.

Set aside time a few days before your project is scheduled to begin to prepare your home. Especially if you have children, you know this work will be done in fits and starts, having to stop often to juggle the needs of kids, so give yourself the time to work on it over two or three days, and build in breaks to reflect on how you want things done.

Take everything off the walls and designate a storage place for each room.

Many companies say they will do this for you, but I found that I preferred to do it myself. It allowed me to think on each of the items and do a little purging if I felt like it, know that everything was being handled gently, and organize things in a way that made it easy to find them later. I generally put all of the things in the room in the closet of that room, since we didn’t plan to paint the closets, and also utilized our garage for storing items from our dining room kitchen, and living room. I put small things in bins to keep them contained, and organized things by room. 

Pack up small items, leaving only your large furniture to move. 

Again, some companies will do this for you, but I found it easy to pack away the knick knacks as we were taking off the wall decor, and it ensured they were safely put away where I could find them again. It also allowed the painters to begin work almost as soon as they arrived. They didn’t have to spend time packing up our small belongings, so the job went a bit faster.

Designate a system for filling holes or leaving nails.

If several of your things will be going back on the walls, you can leave the nails in if you don’t mind them being painted over. If you want a hole filled, remove the nail or other hardware. This system worked well for us, but you can use marking walls with tape, or some other system, as long as you and the crew are on the same page. 

Tips for Kids

room with ladders and home improvement equipmentTalk with your kids about what is going to happen.

We happen to have one child that struggles with change in routine, so we knew this project would be hard for them. We started talking about it a few days in advance, and kept up the conversation so they knew what to expect, and it was not a sudden change.

Give them some control if you can.

We offered both of our kids the option to pick a color for their room. We also got them involved in testing paint colors, allowing them to paint the swatches on the walls. They helped with putting things away and replacing them when the job was done. Giving them some control and involvement in the process of home improvement helped ease the chaos a bit for them.

Pack a bag of their essentials for the duration of the project.

We knew that it was possible we may not have access to dressers, closets, or things we had put in storage to get them out of the way, so for each of our kids we packed a bag of clothes, special toys, toothbrushes, etc. This way we didn’t have to hunt for these things during the project, and if we decided to vacate our home for a night or two they were already packed and ready to go.

Make a plan for getting kids out of the house.

It is going to be 100 times easier and faster for the crew working in your home if your kids aren’t there. They can do their jobs without little people underfoot, and you don’t have to worry about your kids getting into tools or breathing in paint fumes. We planned fun things to do each day that our project was happening when our kids were not in school to keep them occupied. 

Give your kids grace.

Our oldest especially struggled with the idea of people being in her room and messing with her stuff. She also likes to have alone time in her room so being out and about so much was draining for her. All of this made for a grumpier kid. Knowing this, we were able to have patience with her and validate her feelings. All of the stress and unsettled feelings you feel when your house is in shambles? Your kids feel those too.

What have you learned through doing home improvement projects? Share your wisdom with us in the comments!


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