How do you do it? Are you mad? Questions we get asked on the regular when we say we are renovating with 3 children in tow. Just this weekend we were asked exactly this and it got me thinking… how do we do it? So I thought I would put together a little blog post about how I think we manage it without going too mad!…. For reference, the answer to the second question is YES…. we are indeed mad!
We have said from the day we put an offer on the house, that we needed to keep a balance and not get consumed in renovations. With the children only being young (9,7 and 3) and after putting them through a big relocation, we didn’t want them to ever feel like they were not our priority. Obviously when there is chaos all around and all of your fun money for the month has gone on skips, paint and home furnishings, its easier said than done to not feel consumed by a life of renovation, but the one rule we have always stuck to religiously is weekends are made up of one day of family time and one day of renovations. This very rule means we have a dedicated day as a family every week to just have fun and we all love it! I do find our renovating comes in waves and after completing a room, we will have a couple of weeks break before starting the next so we all have time to relax, catch up with friends and family and let the girls have friends round after school without the fear of sending someone’s child home with a splinter in their foot and rubble in their hair! With the weather being good and the evenings being longer, we will often do work on the house between 4pm and 7pm.
My second tip is to get them involved! Harbor is his Daddy’s shadow and loves all things DIY so where we safely can, we get him to help. He has lots of toy tools so will copy what we are doing. Sophia and Isabella are obsessed with stripping wallpaper! Our house is full of woodchip paper and when its time to strip a room we let them loose! This does sometimes backfire and I will be heard shouting “who has been picking wallpaper on the naughty step”! I may also regret this when we hang wallpaper we do like! But for the moment it seems to work wonders with keeping them occupied with a wall while we supervise and crack on with the rest of the walls. The day before we had our bedroom plastered, we let the kids chalk all over a big wall and they thought it was the best thing ever! It was so fun for us all and kept them entertained for a good time while we finished prepping the rest of the room for plaster! We will definitely let them do that again.
My third and final tip is to take it in turns. I am not going to even pretend that I do, or have the capabilities to do anywhere near as much of the renovating as my wonderful husband, but so that he gets to spend time with the little monkeys too, he will take a break and sit with them while they have a snack and I will go and clear up where he is working, set him up with a fresh drink and if it is a project I can lend a hand with like wallpaper stripping or painting then I will take over for a while.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, we currently don’t have any family living nearby, so everything we have done so far has been around the children. Don’t get me wrong, there are times where we would love to leave them with Nanny and Gaga for a few hours and I am not going to say all my above tips work without fail, because there are times where we all get a bit on top of each other and I just need to take the kids away from the house for a few hours. However these bad days are a minority and I feel so proud of the children and us as a family for taking on this big project and making a home together. It really does feel like a team effort.
So to anyone renovating with kids or considering buying a project, rest assured, it really is something the whole family can get involved in and enjoy. Its just about finding a balance and sticking to what works for you….. while occasionally letting them use tools, smash stuff up and draw on the walls!!!
The Johnsons xxx