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Renovating with kids, eh? You have our strongest support and deepest sympathies!
Working through a home renovation project with kids around can be challenging.
Working on just about anything with kids around can be challenging.
However, having children around during a remodel can also be a blessing in disguise.
It’s completely possible to involve your children while getting your renovation work done. Kids are more capable than we think, and you can show them great handy skills while teaching them the value of hard work.
There are so many tasks that kids – even the little ones! – can help with. Let’s look at the best ways to get your kids involved during a home renovation.
Renovating with Kids: Safety First
Before we get into the best ways to involve kids in a renovation, you must remember to keep your children safe.
When renovating your house with kids around, always think: SAFETY. Safety. Safety.
Do not put your child in danger during a home renovation.
Know your children, use common sense, and keep them “O-U-T- OUT” of your project if they are not old enough or aware enough to listen. Do not be a tragedy involving a skill saw and your kid playing underneath the work bench (yes, this story exists and it horrifies me every time I think of it). Think it can’t happen to you? That was a professional of 20+ years.
Check your surroundings before starting a power tool. Heck, lock the kids out of the room if you have to! Bring them to grandma’s if necessary. Tools are not toys and you should teach your children such.
It also goes without saying that you ought to suit your child up with proper shoes, clothes, and gloves if necessary. No crocs or flip flops on a job site, you hear? Even if they’re just peeking at it at the end of the day.
Now that that important business is clear, let’s get to the part where your kids can help with a renovation project.
Renovating with young children
Your children may seem young for a house project. Maybe, maybe not.
I was no older than 1st grade before a square of 200 grit sandpaper was in my little palm. Proud was I to ensure that Dad’s latest project would have nary a nick left.
Your child is probably more capable than you think.
Let’s explore how young kids can get involved in a home renovation.
Little hands are great at sanding! Explain to your child how important this job is – the finishing touch – and suit them up with a nice square of sandpaper.
There is a December 23 etched into my memory. I was around 2nd grade. Dad had created hundreds of new missal holders for our church – you know, the one where you put your songbook attached to the seat in front of you.
We were down to the wire as the custodial staff was hauling in the traditional 25 foot Christmas trees. And you bet, late that night, my brother, mother and I were spread out among the church, sanding the last bits and corners as my dad installed each and every book holder. For reference, our church seated about 800.
Your child will likely be very good at sanding. And don’t worry about the splinters – it builds character.
Chim, chimeree, chim chimeree – little Noreen waltzed away in Daddy’s shop as a child. I was entrusted with the extremely important busy work of sweeping up – and I am here to say, with a full on commercial cabinetry business, my father’s shop had a lot of dust!
Teach your child to sweep with a push broom. This is well within their capabilities. You won’t regret it.
Sure, they might struggle, or make a bigger mess before they clean the first one. Don’t worry! It’s a life skill! Let them build their strength and sweep.
Perhaps a shopvac is appropriate for slightly older children, but it’s important nonetheless.
Call your little machine “R2D2” or the Ghost Sucker (am I dating myself?) and your kid will be on a super cool mission to eradicate heavy renovation dust from all corners of the earth.
Children can reach the floor easier than you can, anyway – save your back!
If you empower your child with the knowledge necessary for this task, you will save yourself hours of meddling in annoying hardware bins.
Kids are excellent at organizing – borderline hostile, if not to their standards, no? – and will be great at separating the Philips from the flatheads (or the pluses from the minuses… but know that your child can gain command of the proper terms faster than you think.).
An added bonus? Toss in words like “hex head” and they’ll be ahead of the curve come geometry class.
Matching shapes is educational. Let your kid help you with that 40 drawer organizer!!
Children can do laundry! And, children can especially learn to fold.
Why pay money for manufactured matching games when there’s a mountain of post-demo-day socks to tend to?
Even if they only get some of it right, you’re teaching your little one to match and sort while you get help with the laundry pile. Win/win all around.
Their own tool box
Every worker on the job needs their own set of tools! Why not get your tyke his or her very own toolset?
Renovating with older children
If you have older children around during your home renovation, consider yourself fortunate! Renovating with kids gets way more fun when they can really get their hands dirty.
Painting is a great job for older children to tackle. Let them pick the colors, teach them about finishes, and work alongside them to paint!
Start with latex based paint, not oil based paint, which is much harder to clean. Latex paint can be wiped up with a wet rag if you spill, so it’s a low-stakes operation for a newbie.
Here lies opportunity: teach them how to hold a brush and cut in trim, or how to make a W shape with a roller and fill in on a wall.
My brave parents gave me free reign over my room colors when I was about 15 years old. If I took care of all the work, they didn’t care what color: “We can always paint over it,” they said. So I hitched a ride to big box store, picked out white walls and blue trim (I didn’t say I had good taste, I just said I DIY’d it), called a friend, and had a ball for a weekend.
Mayyyybe you should give your teen a bit more guidance, depending on the length of your leash.
No matter what, it’s empowering and fun and a great way for an older kid to help with a house project.
YES, your teen can learn to tape!
Start them out with a 6” knife and a teeny bit of joint compound. Show them how to get a little muck on their knife and swipe with a little pressure.
When I was a teen, my dad assigned me all the screws in the wall while he took care of long strips of tape and corners. It’s a start – and it gets your teen holding the tools, working with joint compound, and learning as they go.
Taping is great because it’s not particularly heavy and not super messy. Joint compound can be easily cleaned with a little bit of water.
Not to mention – this is a marketable skill as a great side hustle once you get enough experience.
Similar to painting, if you teach a teen what to do, they can learn how to use their brush with the grain and spread varnish evenly.
It’s not that hard, I promise! Set them up outdoors, mask if needed, choose a non-windy day, and they’ll be poised for success.
Reading a ruler – particularly quickly – is an EXCELLENT skill for anyone to master!
If you work with your teen, you can show them how to hold a measuring tape, mark with a pencil, and double check their work.
For extra credit, start doing some sheetrock. They’ll get practice adding and subtracting fractions. Take that, algebra class!
If you trust your teen and your teaching skills, then poof- you’ve got yourself a happy measuring assistant while you’re atop a ladder discerning which cut you need next. You’ll save yourself the extra steps up and down a ladder.
Assist with cuts
Now, I’m assuming here that you practice ultimate safety standards when you yourself use a saw. SAFETY FIRST, FULL STOP! (Have I made myself clear?)
Yes, we are talking about saws and how kids can help. I proudly held “the other end of this board” many, many times in my life, starting out as a teen. Generally, this involved a 2×4 or piece of plywood and either a chop saw or table saw. I learned quickly to hold still, don’t breathe in, and stay calm as my father worked whatever cut he needed.
This taught me two things – one, saw safety standards. Watching and helping with the work showed me how to work.
Two, saws aren’t scary if you learn to use them properly. Respect them. “If it can cut wood, it can cut you,” as my dad would repeat.
If you expose your older kids to safe working standards, they will adopt good habits straight away.
Renovating with children of any age
If you’re a regular reader here at Our Two Family, you know we are big fans of feeding your crew.
This is a perfect opportunity for your kids (of any age) to help with your home renovation.
For decades (yes, decades!) I watched my mom single-handedly dominate the role of remodel support team. As kids, my brother and I would assist her in preparing a sweet coffee break, a hearty lunch, and a cuppa tea for anyone working on the house.
Your kids can help, too! Even if you’re ordering out, children can help clear off a space to eat, set the table, pour waters, etc.
Here’s your chance to teach them that all the jobs matter in a team effort, whether you’re the guy rocking the ceiling or you’re making him sandwiches.
Home Renovation with a Newborn
Please don’t do that to yourself.
…unless you’d like to resemble Susan Sarandon at the end of Enchanted, combined with the look on Joe Pesci’s face with his hat on fire in Home Alone.
Just don’t do it.
Is it safe to stay in a house while renovating?
Unless you’re doing abatement of lead paint, mold, asbestos or something similar, you can probably stay in your home.
As we often suggest, it’s a great idea to tape off the work area to keep the dust down, and remove shoes and even a layer of clothes (hubba, hubba!) before traveling from one to the other.
Need more advice? Check out these 17 tips – How to Renovate a House While Living In it.
How do you stay sane during a home renovation?
You read our blog! Here are all of our home renovation tips and tricks, written with the sanity-seeking home renovator in mind.
How do I renovate my house with a toddler?
And maybe have a glass of wine at the end of the day.
Honestly, when renovating with kids as young as toddler age, your best bet is to close off the work space and keep a “normal” living space available elsewhere.
We gutted our son’s room when he was about 2 years old (see it : Kid’s Bedroom Renovation). To keep him safe, we literally locked and taped off the door, like so.
We also did most of the work while he was either sleeping or off the premises. This meant the project took longer, so if that’s your plan, be sure to prepare accordingly!
Final thoughts on renovating with kids
It’s a wonderful thing to get your children involved in your home renovation.
Keep safety at the forefront, and take it from there. Whether it’s painting, sanding, or taping, your children are fully capable. Let them help you! Do what you need to do to keep the project moving and your household in running order.
Remember, renovating with kids isn’t forever, but you can make the most of it!
Don’t forget to snag your home renovation planners from our Etsy shop!
You may also like:
- 17 tips – How to Renovate a House while Living in It
- The Ultimate Home Renovation Survival Guide
- Home Renovation Demolition – 12 best tips for an Easy Demo Day