Tips for painting and renovating with kids

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Thinking about renovating or painting? Here are some tips from Essential Baby members who've been through the challenging but ultimately satisfying process of doing up the family home. 

• “We have just renovated our kitchen and had the house repainted. We had lots of BBQs, takeaway and ate out. DH went and bought a load of paper plates and cups so we did not need to wash up. We moved the microwave, toaster and kettle into the dining room for a week.

Painting has been fine, our painter is doing one area at a time so we just move our things from one room to another and keep out of his way. We painted the kids’ room ourselves over Christmas, and had our girls have a holiday at their grandparents for a few days. 

My best tip is to try and do one room at a time, that way you’re not living in complete chaos everywhere. Also try and keep as much as possible out away in cupboards or stored in a garage - if you’re doing any plaster work it creates dust that gets EVERYWHERE! Our painter went around and taped up doors to wardrobes so our clothes didn't get dusty - he is awesome!” (IVL)

• “When we have done big reno jobs like gutting a kitchen or bathroom we have used child gates to keep kids out of those area. When possible we have asked friends or family for help with either the reno work or baby sitting.

A lot of work we tried to do at night when the kids were sleeping, particularly quieter jobs like painting.

We also tried to involve the kids in smaller tasks so that they are helping, kid’s play tool sets are great because then they can (pretend to) do what the adults are doing. And stock up on new DVD's and games to keep kids entertained.” (WibbleWobble)

• “We were lucky that our nearly 10-year-old son entertained the 3-year-old for most of the time, and when the weather was good they played with the neighbours. Once we got past the construction stage and it was safer for them to be around, we would give them a job to do to make them feel involved. Our oldest son loved the job of hammering all the nails down on the old timbers as they were removed. 

The little one liked to put a dust mask on and sweep up all the sawdust. We also cleared a big area out so that the he could ride his scooter around near us. 

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I think you have to accept that your house is not going to be at its usual standard of cleanliness, but just remember that it's not permanent. Oh, and the iPads were invaluable!” (Josh 2003)

• “We did our kitchen and bathroom at the same time this year. I had a 6-month-old and a 4-year-old. In my experience: freeze lots of meals ahead of times; have a box of outside toys/books/snacks and things ready for when the noise, smells, mess drives you out at no notice; buy extra drop sheets, as you can never have too many and they help keep the dust down. 

And don't even try to paint with kids in the house. I take them away and come home once DH has finished painting.” (niggles)

• “We kept one room renovation free where all their beds, clothes etc were. We ate at the local park a lot - we ate BBQ chicken from the supermarket and salads a lot. We had a microwave, kettle, toaster etc set up in the room when the kitchen was out of use. We had movies set up in the room for the kids to watch and do homework after school. We showered at Nana's when we couldn't use the bathrooms, and had sleepovers there every couple of weekends just to get the kids away from it for a few days.

I would consider doing one room/area at a time if you can, have a break and some normal day to day life/rest then attack another area/room.” (Lifehacker) 

Tips from EB Facebook members

• "When we’re painting we give my 5-year-old a brush so she can help too, she thinks its great. We also took her to Bunnings so she could pick out which colour she wanted her room to be."

• "I’ve been renovating throughout my entire pregnancy. My tip would be to not expect things to be done over night. Do little bits here and there, don't focus on what hasn't been some but rather the end result!"

• "The kids and I drove to Qld while Dad stayed in an empty house for the week and got the job done!"

• "My biggest tip is to set a timeframe … then blow it out by 10 months and that is when it will actually happen! But seriously, only set small goals, so you don't get frustrated when doing the renovation. For major events, such as oil base paint or asbestos removal, we make sure we arrange for the kids to be out of the house. We also give them kid-size hammers and half nail in nails into play-size piece of wood - they will tap away at that to try to be like Mum & Dad for ages. We also do things for 20-30 minutes after the kids go to bed, but you have to set a limit so you don't wear yourself out." 

Looking for advice, inspiration or motivation on doing up your home or garden? Check out the Essential Baby forum