Even the smallest of home-remodel projects can quickly turn into a playground of peril for the young children who live there.
Q: Remodeling with small children — how is this done?
A: Imagine, if you will, letting your child run rampant through an active construction site. (We apologize for that terrifying vision.) Now, there’s no way you would actually let that happen, but even the smallest of home-remodel projects can quickly turn into a playground of peril, with live machinery, open crevices at any given moment, and sharp objects lying willy-nilly throughout the room.
Remodel projects can last anywhere from a single day to several months, and will likely include any number of inconveniences that can disrupt daily life.
The best prep is simply not to panic if and when things go awry. A calm and prepared parent is a proactive parent.
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Here is what else you need to remember.
It may get loud
Play or nap time doesn’t work as well with constant whirring and buzzing or taped-off areas taking over attention.
Be ready to change other daily habits, too, especially with very young children. Certain rooms may become off-limits areas, while on-the-go breakfasts and delivery dinners become the norm.
Routines will need to change, if only temporarily. Make alternative plans to get the kids ready for school in the morning and fed at night — without a full bathroom or kitchen. If you treat the transition well, chances are the little ones won’t skip a beat. For help, just think about how great that new open kitchen will feel.
Don’t sleep on dust
Dust and particulates trigger allergies and can pose serious health concerns. Protecting inside air quality is paramount to ensuring your children’s’ well-being during construction season.
Be sure to seal off HVAC ducting and vents in the affected areas, use plastic sheeting to guard against flying particles, and keep workspaces clean by wiping with disposable cloths and vacuuming with a HEPA-filtered vacuum as many as two times a day — or more, depending on need.
Watch out for waste
Debris piles consisting of sharp glass, protruding nails or other such nasty objects are just inviting little ones to incur bodily harm.
Have a dedicated bin or container to put dangerous parts into, one that’s out of reach and sealable. This is especially true for any toxic chemicals that may be a part of the work process.
Tools are not toys
As much as they may look the part, tools aren’t playthings. Don’t leave them out when not in use. It’s especially important to unplug them if not in your hand or in your line of sight. This sounds easy, but can become surprisingly difficult to keep track of during the hustle and bustle of renovation.
If you have workers helping you out, give them plenty of space to work. Consider planning a park day or early dinner outing while they’re nailing, cutting or moving large objects around.
Remember to keep a positive attitude throughout the process, and eventually things will get back to normal for you and your family. Until then, stay keen on the above reminders, and both you and your tots will come out unscathed — and with a brand-new home addition.
HomeWork is written by Cameron Poague and contributing member professionals of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to email@example.com.