As anyone who has ever survived a remodeling project knows, it’s not an easy process. While the end result, hopefully, makes it all worth it, the actual remodeling process can be stressful and cause upheaval to routines. If you have kids, this stress and upheaval can be magnified, for both you and your kids. Some kids may experience heightened anxiety during construction, while others may be curious and tempted to investigate, raising your anxiety levels. Don’t worry, it’s not necessary to postpone remodeling until your children have left for college. With a little planning and preparation, you can successfully complete your renovations while keeping your little ones safe.
- Some kids struggle with changes in routines. Try to keep things as normal as possible but realize that some impacts to schedules and routines are unavoidable. Before work begins, explain to them what is going to happen so they know what to expect. Prepare them for the loud noises and dust that accompany construction. Let them know that they won’t be able to go into certain areas of the house. Reassure them that this is only temporary.
- Explain to your children that certain areas of the house will be off limits and that this is for their safety. Make sure they understand that it is not safe for them to touch or play with any of the equipment or materials. If possible, keep doors closed to the construction areas or consider putting up tape, plastic sheeting, or other type of barrier and instruct your kids that they cannot go beyond the barrier. Do not allow your children into work areas even when construction is not being performed.
- Establish safe alternative areas. Dedicate a space for your kids to play and store toys that is as far away from the construction area as possible. If you are remodeling your kitchen, consider setting up a makeshift kitchen with food, a compact refrigerator, and a microwave in another room so your kids won’t be tempted to sneak into the work zone for a snack. If you are remodeling a bathroom that your kids frequently use, make sure to move all of their toiletries to a different bathroom.
- Introduce your kids to the project foreman and any other contractors or workers who may be on site frequently. Let them use this opportunity to ask any questions they have to satisfy their curiosity about what is going on. If you have older kids who may be at home during construction when you are at work, this is especially important so they know it’s okay to allow these individuals into the house as needed. But don’t expect your contractors to be responsible for your children. They are not babysitters. If your children cannot be at home by themselves, they should not be left home when there are workers present.
- Get your kids out of the house when possible. If you have school-aged kids, try to schedule most of the work while they’re at school. If they normally stay by themselves after school, see if they can spend time with a friend during the remodeling project. As your contractor to let you a few days ahead of time when they will be doing work that is particularly loud, messy, or that involves hazardous materials. Plan special outings for those days or arrange to go to a friend or family member’s house.
- Be sure to let your contractors know that you have children in the house, how many children, and their ages. Ask them to take extra precautions to ensure tools and materials are not left where they could be accessed by your kids. After workers have left for the day, take a few minutes