Thursday, April 23, 2015

Surviving a House Renovation with Kids

So we just got through the part of our house renovation that (I hope) was the hardest with kids: the kitchen and living room. It's difficult for anyone to live without a kitchen and living room- or to just live with parts of it- but add in kids, and it becomes even more complicated. I'll admit that there were times I just had to breathe deeply and pray hard because I could feel my heart starting to become overwhelmed. 

We took up the floor the week that the mudders were supposed to come, and then they had a family emergency, so we ended up going three weeks without a floor. I sure was thankful when we had floors again! I also went a week without my sink and stove, so it was wonderful to have those back!

We have moved a lot in our marriage and spent a month in a third world country with an 18 month old and enjoy going camping and lived a year (during our missionary training) in an apartment with no running water and with a community bathroom, and I think all of these adventures helped prepare us for this adventure, so I have been able to enjoy the process for the most part. We are a month and a half into our house renovation, and here is my advice for surviving it with kids! (My kids are 4, 2, and 10 months right now.)

1. Let Your Kids Help You
  Little kids always love being able to help (except when you ask them to), so allow them to help whenever possible! My four year-old was the one who wanted to help the most and who was actually able to be helpful, but I did allow my two year-old to have the paintbrush for about five seconds. She definitely got more paint on herself than on the cabinet door.

2. Take Time to Play (and don't Renovate Every Room at Once)
   When I'm in work mode, it's hard for me to take a break and play. But whenever all three girls are awake, I know that I can't really get work done anyways... so I tried to take advantage of this time and give a lot of attention to my girls. Along with this, make sure you have at least one room where your kids can play freely during renovation. We spent a lot of time in this room while the kitchen and living room were torn apart and unsafe (and unclean) to play in.

3. Eat on the Floor and Outside and in Toy Cars
   Because our kitchen was torn apart, our table and chairs were gone for three weeks. So basically, we ate wherever we could. And we ate easy meals. And I have a wonderful mother-in-law that made us freezer meals that we made whenever our stove was hooked up!

 (notice Miss Grabby Hands stealing big sister's food- ha!)

4. Eat Out
   Definitely budget in eating-out. Sometimes you will have to and sometimes you will just want to. 

5. Eat Junk Food
  Yumm, donuts! Basically, just plan to eat lots of easy foods. Unfortunately, junk food is usually easy. But fruit is pretty easy too, so we did quite a bit of fruit. Anything that doesn't require plates and utensils is great!

6. Be Okay with Pajamas All Day Long (and Toasters on the Floor)
   Some days we didn't change out of our pajamas. Our house was a mess and we had lots to do, so staying in our PJs was easiest. But let's be honest, sometimes even when we're not renovating a house, we don't change our of our PJs. (#momlife).  Also, we eat toaster waffles every day. Healthy staple food, I know. So the toaster on the floor was a must.
   Also, if you're a crazy neat freak and extra sanitary, you should probably just leave the house for the whole renovation. Because gross, look at my floors below!

7. Play Outside
   We looooove playing outside whenever we can, and it was extra nice to be able to do so during the renovation. I'm so thankful for warmer weather.

8. Go Fun Places
  There are some days where things are taking place like demolition, and it's simply easier to just take the kids out of the house. We visited family and went to the children's museum and went bowling and took lots of trips to the park. 

9. Teach Your Kids that Lowes and Menards and Home Depot are Fun Places
   I can't even count the number of trips we took to these store. We live 5 minutes from two of them, so thankfully it's easy to run and grab things when we need them. The nice thing is that Sophie (four year-old) doesn't find as many things to bug for there as at WalMart... but she usually still finds a few things. Also, the carts are great at these stores! Kids love the carts that are made to carry wood. It's like a ride!

(You know the cute-kid-in-a-bucket pictures? Yeah, not as cute with fluorescent store lights and iPhone cameras and Lowes buckets in the background)

 10. Work After the Kids Go to Bed (and Naptimes!)
   This is definitely when the work is actually going to happen. Put those kids to bed, turn up the music loud, and get out those power tools and paint rollers!


  1. Haha...our family does house renovations so differently than yours! But then again, my husband refuses to let anyone help. ;)

  2. haha Elizabeth! My husband struggles with having help, but I tell him he has to let me help :) He hates painting, so he's glad to let me do allll of that.

  3. Our kids always want to play "baking" in aaall of the kitchens at Lowes/Menards. So the rule is if we've gotten all of our items without any meltdowns, we can (often, but sometimes you just gotta tell them ahead of time-no kitchens today)!

    It's so hard to not be task-oriented at all times during such a huge renovation, so good for you! You should come over some morning that it's busy/noisy there! Stay in your pjs... ;)

    1. Sounds fun! We definitely are in need of another play date soon!

  4. Renovating a family house can be difficult enough without children present, much alone doing it on your own. Renovation projects may be noisy, chaotic, and disruptive—not to mention deadly! When paired with power equipment and workstations that resemble play places for small children, a calamity might quickly occur. Renovating a family house can be difficult enough without children, let alone when you do it alone. My Home Handyman can handle your home renovation project easily.