Creative Parenting while Renovating

Young girl riding her bicycle in the living room of a home in the process of being rennovated.Starting a renovation can evoke an array of unsettled feelings – where in the world will we put our stuff, how will we manage without a kitchen sink, will my kids ever nap, and how do I ensure their safety? With a family of four and two kids under 6, I choose to roll with the adventure and chronicle the creative fun of parenting while renovating.

Prepare the Construction Zone and Say No to Stashing Stuff

The preparation can actually be the most liberating part of the experience. Clearing out the clutter and prioritizing material needs for several months is freeing. Each child was given some empty boxes and asked to fill them with items (clothes, toys, especially toys) that they can live without for the next two months. It’s surprising to see what is considered a child’s favorite things when they are given some alone time to sort. These boxes were labeled and put in the garage with a plan to revisit. I’m curious to see what items have been forgotten by that time and what items are given residence in our new space.

Get in on the Fun and See the Writing on the Wall

I am a believer of experiential fun and cautious risk-taking. Take an active role in the demolition process and encourage the kids to help. Allow the kids to use a hammer on the wall and then play connect-the-dots. Trace each other with permanent markers on the outgoing carpet. Sketch cartoon characters that will secretly reside in the walls.

Let Yourself Off the Hook

The idea of providing wholesome meals from the confines of our sink-less garage was a bit daunting. By focusing on meals that require only a spoon, fork, or fingers allowed me to explore alternate forms of protein and lots and lots of colorful veggies. But be real, when you’re feeding kids out of a garage without running water, its ok to use compostable dishes – the alternative may involve innumerable trips to and from the interior tub with buckets. Bucket brigades are novel for kids for a time, but difficult to encourage in the wee hours of the morning!

Think Outside the Sawdust and Make the Best of the Mess

One afternoon, I looked around at the layer of construction dust around my home and the foggy haze in the air, but was struck most by silence. I noticed our girls’ intense focus on the floor. They were enthralled with their new floor canvas ripe for finger tracks, car lanes, dollhouse blueprints, and letter tracing.

Sawdust in the driveway can be an art medium using a glue stick and scrap paper – keep it natural or dye it with fruit juice. Tile scraps from the backsplash or floor can become fascinating puzzle pieces and framing material. Reuse, Repurpose, Repeat…

I’m sure I will find evidence of our renovation adventures for some time, but the memories we are creating will be the most treasured!


Keri Bailey CPNP

Keri Bailey, CPNP, is a mother of two young daughters and experienced pediatric nurse practitioner with specialized experience in general medicine, pediatric surgery, and patient education. She strives to go beyond the textbook with her family.

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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  1. Sara

    Fun read! Great sections & organized short points!


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