Planning a Summer Remodel When The Kids are Home

happy family mother father and children move to a new apartment and unpack boxes

Remodeling turns your home into a construction site. No matter how much plastic sheeting you lay out or how well you time your project, your day-to-day life is going to be disrupted. This can be stressful for anyone, but when you add kids into the mix, you have a recipe to be overwhelmed that can make you dread a project that you should be excited about.

There’s plenty of advice online telling you to take a trip during your remodel. That’s not a bad idea, but not everyone can “just go to Europe or Hawaii” with the whole family while their home is undergoing expensive improvements.

Remodeling with kids at home doesn’t have to be a messy nightmare. Here are a few simple, stress-free tips to make your summer remodel as easy as possible for everyone. No airfare required.

Why Summer?

Like it or not, summer is remodeling season. There are a few good reasons for this.

The Weather

Summer remodeling is another one of those seasonal traditions that doesn’t fully apply to San Diego. In other parts of the country, summer is the best time to hire a plumber because they’re not busy with frozen pipes.

In San Diego, our pipes don’t freeze, but summer is a good time to get outside and to grill while your kitchen is out of commission.

Light & Air

Lots of natural light and long days make it easier to judge colors when selecting paint and materials.

Summer is a good time to keep doors and windows open to ventilate your construction site.

Open Schedules

If you have kids at home, there is no good time to remodel, but summer is the least bad option. School is out. You’re likely to have fewer day-to-day commitments and a more flexible schedule.

Happy family on the beach enjoying picnic.

Get Out

Just because you can’t get away to someplace exotic overseas doesn’t mean you can’t get out of the house. Even spending an afternoon in Mission Bay or the Pacific Beach can help everybody reset and escape the sound of power tools for a while.

Summer Camp & Sleepovers

Losing entire rooms to remodeling can make things a little cramped, turning siblings against each other and driving parents to their wit’s end. It’s vital to create some space for the sake of everyone’s sanity. Get the kids out of the house as much as possible.

Check out your options for summer camp and day camps in your area. If cost is an issue, try to schedule camp to overlap with the most intensive stage of the remodel–like when the kitchen or bathroom is off limits.

Now is a good time to say “yes” to all the sleepovers.

Neighbors & Family

Think about visiting family or just having dinner at your neighbor’s house. It helps to know you have a place to escape too if things get too hectic at home.

Sports & Beach Days

Another way to get the kids out of the house is to sign them up for sports and other activities. This will help you get out of the house too since you’ll have to schedule your day around picking them up and dropping them off.

Another reason to remodel in the summer is that you can always head to the beach during the day.

Staying active is a good way for everyone to shake off the cooped-up feeling of living with construction. It also helps if the kids tire themselves out by the end of the day.

Explore San Diego

Go to some museums, check out the zoo even if you’ve already been a million times. Walk around Balboa Park. Check out the sand castle contest in Imperial Beach.

If your kitchen is being worked on and you have to eat out a lot, take the opportunity to find new restaurants.

Come up with a list of dozens of places to go and things to do so that you’re never without a plan even when the little ones are restless but say they don’t want to do anything. When in doubt, ask them what they want to do.


Kids like surprises, just not the “we have no more TV room for a while” kind of surprises. Nine point nine times out of ten, you can avoid disaster by keeping everyone in the loop.

Talk to your Kids

Let them know way ahead of time about your remodeling plans and what that means for them. Answer their questions. Share your excitement about the project and get them excited too. If possible, show them pictures of what the house is going to look like.

Experts say that acting out the construction with blocks or legos can help children understand what’s going on.

Talk to Your Contractor

Ask about their experience working with families. Don’t be afraid to check their references. Look for someone you get along with, and always listen to your gut.

Keep Talking

Good communication solves so many problems, and your kids will have an easier time adjusting to changes in the routine if they know what to expect.

Find out from your contractor when the power might be off and when things might get loud or smelly. Tell your kids ahead of time.

Keep it Safe

Construction sites can seem like a playground to a kid. Nail guns are not toys. Safety should be priority number one, and it’s the responsibility of all the adults involved.

Have Rules

The simplest rule to keep everyone safe is a close-toed shoe policy.

Have a designated entryway for contractors, so they’re not tripping over toys or tracking dust through the house.

Double check that your contractors take their tools home or store them securely where the kids can’t get at them.

Redefine Spaces

The grownups are going to have to move their things and live in a different space for a while; the kids should have a new playroom for the duration of the project. This can also help with their adjustment.

Have Fun

Don’t forget, you’re remodeling to make things better at home. There’s no reason to be miserable just because you have to eat takeout and share a bathroom for a while.

Make it a Game

One of the best things you can for your kids is to involve them in the process and planning of the project. They have to live in your house too, give them a say in how it will look.  

Help them understand why you’re tearing up the house and putting it back together. By showing them what’s going on, you can ease any fear they might have. Show them what the tools do. Teach them about the different jobs that go into remodeling a house. See what they can do to help out.

One suggestion, from Mom.Me is to let your kids draw and write all over the walls that you’ll be tearing down.

If you Relax, They’ll Relax

It’s a fact that no kid in the history of remodeling has ever said, “Mom, when can use the dining room?” No kid has ever said, “Pizza, again?”

Keeping the family calm during a remodel is all about mindset and managing expectations. The experience is going to be whatever you make of it. Freaking out is a choice. Having fun is a choice.

Young couple enjoying restaurant in the morning.

Take Care of Yourself

Don’t forget to practice self-care through this whole process. Make sure your plans include alone time and date nights. Take turns and enlist the help of friends and sitters when it comes to the job of parenting.

Embrace the ups and downs, and know when you need a breather.


Give us a call when you’re ready to remodel.