Small children and big renovations aren't always a happy mix – follow our simple tips to blend a fabulous home improvement with a happy family.
1.Think it through. Break it down
Renovating a home and raising children are both stressful enough on their own. Combine the two and your patience can be sorely tested. If you have plans for a major renovation, consider whether it's worth breaking down the job into smaller chunks to be completed over a period of time. It could preserve family harmony – and possibly make the improvement project easier on your budget.
2. Choose your builder wisely
It's not essential for your builder to know every line of Humpty Dumpty, but he will need to be tolerant of children – oh, and that means no bad language on site. Watch how your builder interacts with the kids while visiting your place for a quote, and explain that tradespeople need to be aware of the presence of youngsters in your home.
Asking friends or work colleagues for a builder they recommend is a good starting point to track a child-friendly builder who is also a quality tradesperson.
3.Share the renovations with your children
Explain to your children what's about to happen. Home renovations can be stressful for youngsters as they see a much-loved, familiar environment undergo radical changes. Encourage your child's involvement in the process by poring over colour charts together (don't be surprised if hot pinks or bright greens are popular suggestions!) and provide lots of reassurance that their home will be even nicer when the renovations are complete.
Be firm though when it comes to safety issues. Explain that the builder's tool kit and work area is out of bounds. Consider buying the kids mini tool kits of their own so they can enjoy some pretend building in a safe area like the garden.
4.Relax your standards – it's only temporary
Renovations can bring dust, sand and mess into your home – and attempting to stay on top of the cleaning can be exhausting. Protect what's valuable by letting the kids wear their definitely-not-best clothes; pack away special items in packing boxes and cover furniture and carpets with drop sheets. It's not always easy to accept that your home won't be squeaky clean while the building work is underway – but it's not forever.
5.Take time out
On the days when it all gets too much, pack a picnic, ship everyone into the car and head off to the nearest play group, park or beach for some well deserved relaxation. It won't be too long before your patience will be rewarded with an amazing new home.