Any home renovation project can be challenging, but a kitchen remodel can be especially difficult when you have toddlers. However, it is possible to survive a kitchen remodel with children of all ages. In fact, with enough planning, it may actually lead to good memories and adventures with your kids.
Good organization and forethought are key for making your kitchen remodel as fun and safe as possible. Here are a few tips to consider as you prepare for your renovation with toddlers.
Create a temporary mini kitchen that’s child-proof
First, think about what appliances you’ll need to make simple meals. To save space, try to limit your appliances to the absolute basics. For example, you could make a lot of meals with just a microwave, toaster oven, and a small fridge. The rest can go into storage, whether in another room or at a self-storage facility.
Next, consider what kind of plates, cups, and utensils you’ll be using. If you’re sticking with non-disposable items, make sure you have a convenient way to do dishes. A bathtub could work, or even a hose with a dishpan outside.
Even if you’re using disposable items, it’s a good idea to think about how you’d do the dishes if it’s necessary. With toddlers, you never know when you might need to clean something.
Once you’ve settled on the items you’ll need, think about how you can arrange everything to make a child-proof little kitchen. A patio, a corner cabinet, or even a couple shelves could become your “kitchen,” as long as there’s a way to keep certain items out of reach. Having this temporary mini kitchen will make preparing meals and relaxing much easier throughout the renovation.
Get extra safety gates for toddlers
One gate probably won’t be enough to keep your child safe. There may be times when you’ll want gates for two or even three locations. After all, the kitchen isn’t the only place that can become dangerous for toddlers during a kitchen remodel.
For instance, the contractors might want to keep the front door open while they work or unload supplies. In that case, you’ll want to fasten a gate by the front door as well as by the kitchen. Otherwise, your toddler could end up walking on the street while you’re busy with the remodel.
Plan for simple meals
Some people rely on eating out during a kitchen remodel, but your toddler might not always like eating takeout or going to a restaurant. Instead, brainstorm a list of meals you could easily prepare at home. Convenient dinners that can be microwaved or cooked within 5-10 minutes can be a lifesaver during a renovation.
You may still end up eating out more than usual, but this list could come in handy if your toddler is ever especially cranky one evening. If you have a deep freezer, you can even prepare homemade meals in advance to use during the renovation. You can also ask friends or family if they’re willing to bring a meal or two to share. Then, when your new kitchen is finished, you can return the favor by inviting them over for dinner.
Escape the house as much as possible
Finding ways to get away from the renovation is important even without toddlers. With children, it’s crucial. If you’re cooped up all day, both you and your kids could start feeling antsy. Give everyone a break by going somewhere else, such as the park, the mall, or the local library. Even going to a neighbor’s home for 30 minutes can be a relief.
If you can, try to renovate during a season with good weather. Postponing the kitchen remodel until spring or summer will give you more opportunities for fun and outdoor escape. You could set up an outdoor barbecue and regularly have dinner outside, or go to the beach for a picnic lunch.
It can be helpful to plan these activities before the renovation begins. Otherwise, you might be too overwhelmed to think of places to go. For example, if a children’s museum is close by, you could get a membership in advance. If your family or friends live in the area, try to arrange visits during the renovation.
These breaks will give you and your kids time to unwind away from the chaos and noise of power tools. Then, you’ll be able to return home refreshed and ready to tackle the renovation. By the end of your kitchen renovation project, you’ll not only have an awesome kitchen, but also a lot of great memories you’ve made along the way.