Even though the end results are worth it, home renovations are always a challenge to undertake. When you have children, though, that challenge becomes even more daunting. Your children may be afraid of the changes, noise, mess, and overall chaos that a home renovation brings with it.
Here are five tips for helping your children over the hurdle of renovations — and saving your sanity in the process.
1. Have a Safe Place for Them to Retreat
Find a room in the house that isn’t involved in the renovation and make it a retreat for your child. They can head to that room whenever the noise or constant activity becomes too much for them to take.
If you are having your kitchen renovated with new cabinets, paint, and flooring, the special retreat space might be in your child’s bedroom, your home office, or even your bedroom. But it’s important that they have a place they can go to when they start to get overwhelmed by all that activity.
If you are doing a full house renovation, the safe space might be outside. You and your children can walk to a park or head into the backyard to play in a crawl tunnel, and get some exercise and fresh air.
2. Help Them Visualize the End Result
When kids have never been through a home renovation, they don’t understand how nice it will look when it’s completed. If you can show them how the mess and noise will help transform the room, they may be more excited about the process and more tolerant about all the downsides of living in a home that’s being renovated.
To help them visualize what the room will look like when it’s done, it’s best to use visual aids rather than words. Your child won’t have any idea what words like recessed lighted and stainless steel refrigerators mean. It’s better to use pictures to illustrate the changes.
You can show them pictures of newly renovated rooms that best match what you’re doing and explain it won’t look exactly like that, but similar. Or, you can use online visualizers to show them what the new room will look like.
3. Sell Them on What They’ll Get Out of It
If you want your child to be onboard and more patient with all of the renovations you’re doing, you need to convince them that they want the changes too. The best way to do this is to explain how the new upgrades will affect them.
If you’re getting a pool in the backyard, that will be easier to do. You may have to get creative with other renovation projects.
If you’re having the bathroom renovated, you can explain that you’ll have a roomier bathtub which will give them more space to use their bath toys. Or, you can say the new bathtub will have whirlpool jets which will make baths more fun.
Use your creativity to sell them on how these new changes will improve their lives in some way. If you’re having a new roof put on, explain how it will protect them from leaks. Get a squirt gun out and spray them a couple of times, asking if they’d like to get wet every time it rained — they’ll laugh and it will help them understand why they need a new roof.
4. Enlist the Help of Friends and Families
Kids aren’t known for being the most patient people in the world. That’s not their fault — they don’t have the coping mechanisms in place yet to be able to always handle frustration, changes, or setbacks. As their parent, you need to help them deal with what’s going on, and sometimes, that may mean leaving the house for a while so they can have a break.
Let your close friends and family know you’re having renovations done. Ask if any of them would be willing to babysit your children for a couple of hours on heavy workdays. It’ll save you the headache of trying to deal with an angry child, and it may prevent your child from having a full-on emotional meltdown.
Having a renovation escape plan can be important for children, and it can give you a much-needed break as well.
5. Explain What’s Happening Next
Keeping your kid in the dark is a terrible idea. It will make them anxious, angry, and wondering what fresh torment awaits them the next day. But if you share all the information you have with them, they’ll be prepared, feel grown-up, and might have a better outlook on what’s about to happen.
You don’t have to go into mind-numbingly boring details, but you should try to give your child an end-of-the-day report. Tell them which items on the checklist were completed that day and what will be worked on the next day. Remind them that each day brings you closer to the completion of the project.
If they’ve had a particularly hard day with the renovations, you can share an age-appropriate inspirational quote to help them.
If they seem frazzled, you might be able to take their mind off of it by planning a post-project completion party for the two of you. That can entail anything you want, like a quiet movie night, a home-cooked meal, and something yummy for dessert.
Getting Through It Together
Sometimes, it can seem like a home renovation will never be completed. But by facing it with a positive attitude, remembering to treat each other with kindness and understanding, and by staying focused on the outcome, you and your children will sail right through this challenge.
About the Author: Shannon Serpette is an award-winning writer and editor from Illinois, who regularly contributes to newspapers, magazines, and websites. As a mother of two, she loves to write about parenting issues and is dedicated to educating other parents at every stage of their child’s development.
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
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