Since Don was born (he is now 15 months old!), I have done my fair share of DIY projects around the house. My husband and I have opposite days off, so it is usually me in charge of the baby trying to take care of him and get some projects done. I LOVE redoing my house, so I make time for it. I have learned some tips and tricks along the way for how to DIY with kids that I thought I would share. If you don’t have kids, I have some tips for you too!
First of all, I try to do as much as humanly possible while Don is sleeping in the morning, during his nap, or at night. I love to spend time with him and since I work full time, I really try to spend every second I can with him during the weekend. But the second that baby is asleep, I drop everything and get working on a project (or the blog).
Last weekend I put up some chair molding in the hall so I figured I’d use this project to illustrate my best tips for DIYing with a little one around. Here’s the before of my hall:
Then it got painted white
Prep while they’re awake
I knew that was a bigger project, so while Don was awake I put out the tools and measured where on the wall the molding would go up.
That is a Pottery Barn tool set (and no longer available), but I thought this one from Amazon was cute!
Make it fun for them
To keep him involved, I bought Don a set of his own tools. I keep them stored with my tool box. So the only time he plays with his tools is when I am doing a project so he can feel like he is “helping.” It’s pretty freaking adorable!
Have them help with any projects that are age appropriate
There was a piece of trim I needed to replace since it had a flat end and I now want it to have a 45 degree angle to go around the corner down the hall. So I pulled that off the wall. It pulled some pieces of paint with it and those plastic-y pieces were perfect to have Don help me clean up. He’s really getting to the point where he can help more and loves it! When I am doing laundry he will help pull the clean clothes out of the dryer into the hamper. Just today, he handed me items out of the dishwasher so I could put them away in the cupboards.
Do loud projects while they are awake (if possible)
Before Don went to sleep, I filled my air compressor since it is loud and I want to keep him sleeping as long as possible (both because I have a lot to do and sleep is so important!).
Use white noise to muffle the construction sounds
When Don sleeps he has a sound machine that plays the ocean. When I am working in our tiny condo, I make sure to turn on the fan in the bathroom for some extra sound proofing. I used my miter saw out on our deck (with the door closed) and cut the trim to pieces and nailed them to the wall. The nail gun is pretty loud and I was working on the hall wall (his bedroom is attached to the other side) so I put on more white noise (I play the ocean off YouTube).
Clean up any dangerous items while kids are sleeping
When all of the trim is attached, I made sure all rouge nails are off of the floor and the saw and nail gun are disconnected and in a safe place before he was awake.
Finish clean-up once your little one is awake
Once he was awake, fed, and changed, he played with toys while I finished cleaning up.
Be a good example
I think having your kids see you work is a good thing. I think that modeling a strong work ethic will help teach the importance of hard work. Yes, there should be time for play and adventure, but it’s ok to spend some of your time working on your house and them seeing you sacrifice to have a better environment. p.s. here is what the hall looks like now. It still needs putty and painting and picture molding, but it’s getting there:
Make every minute count
Another thing that helps me DIY with Don around is I try to being organized and productive. I have a notebook with a page for each day so I know what to prioritize during nap time and what my goals are for the day. I thought I would share my productivity planner in case you wanted a free copy sent immediately to your email (just fill out the form below):
In the top “Today is” spot I put the day of the week and then the date. I like having a record of what I did and when, so this is perfect for that. When I think of things to do, I put them under the “tasks to do” section. I circle one of the numbers to know what the priority is (I do everything with a #1 first) and then I put how long I think the task will take me to do. I love having an estimate for how long the project will take so I can realistically plan out my time and so I can set a timer and try to beat my guess. Once the item is complete, I cross the box off on the left. The goals for today section are for overall goals I have for the day. Things like “wash and put all of the laundry away” or “get all chair molding installed today.” As I think of things I want to do tomorrow, I add those in. Any items I didn’t complete today get put in that section too.
I’d love if you would try it out and give me your feedback! This form really has helped me focus on what needs to be completed and check things off my list.
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