Home renovation is a great opportunity to make your home more kid-friendly and involve your children in the process. Of course, your first priority is keeping kids safe while construction is underway. Explain the dangers and section off areas that children don’t belong. Depending upon the age of your children and the extensiveness of the project, letting them stay with a relative for a few days during the peak of chaos might be the easiest thing to do.
With safety addressed, you can include your little ones in the process. They are certainly curious and perhaps anxious about the changes to their home (much like you are), and filling them in will both educate them and ease their fears. Start in the design and planning phase, explaining to children what is going to happen and why. Solicit their input. Once work gets underway, there are many ways to continue to keep kids in the loop.
For small, do-it-yourself projects, your child can work alongside you as you explain what you are doing. He or she can act as your helper, or can use his or her play tools to mimic what youare doing. Maybe you can provide your child with some safe materials and let him work on his own “project” while you work in another part of the room. If your renovation project involves a large professional crew, your child will probablyenjoy watching with you from a safe distance while you explain what is happening.
Incorporating kids in the process can be a lot of fun. But keep in mind the final product; you want your remodeled space to be safe and functional for your whole family. First determine whether the room is a high-traffic, family area or a private, adult area. You’ll enjoy greater freedom when designing your bedroom or office because your children won’t often be in those rooms. For family spaces, here are some ideas:
Keep carpet colors dark to better mask spills and dirt. Consider area rugs on top of hardwood floors to provide a softer surface that will also protect what’s underneath. Upholster your furniture in durable fabrics that wear well, or use washable slipcovers. Select scrubable paint for your walls. If your coffee table will double as a play table, choose a material that won’t be damaged by toys (like aged wood). Cover unused electrical outlets with plastic caps.
Make sure bedding is machine-washable and the flooring won’t easily stain. Choose modular furniture than can be replaced as it needs to be. Plenty of storage space is essential for things to remain relatively tidy; consider beds with pull-out drawers underneath, benches that double as toy chests, and wall shelving at kid-level. Keep window treatments simple, safe, and inexpensive. Vibrant paint colors or wallpaper are great—just make sure you can wipe them down.
Lock drawers and cabinets, especially those within kids’ reach and those that are hiding dangerous chemicals. Avoid sharp edges on counters and slippery flooring. Keep step stools handy for children who have an interest in helping you cook and bake. Also consider keeping items like cereals and bowls on low shelves so kids can learn to be a part of setting up a meal.
Elevate dangerous cleaning supplies and medicines or lock them in cabinets. Make sure anything near the tub is waterproof, and avoid flooring that is slippery when wet. Install grab bars near and inside the tub area to ease entry and exit. An adjustable showerhead means people of all heights can take comfortable showers. Think about installing a system to limit the water temperature of faucets. Tiled walls protect against moisture and dirty hands. Choose soft-close toilet seats to protect little fingers. Doors should open from the inside as well as the outside. Avoid overly childlike decor; kids will quickly outgrow it.