Every parent wants their home to be the best possible place for their children to grow up. You want to teach your children by example to keep a clean, pleasant-looking home, and that they have the power to improve their situations if they take action. However, many home improvement projects just aren’t feasible with young children in the home.
If you need to complete a difficult project while your children are still very young, then send them to visit grandparents or other family members while you re-paint the house or get new carpeting. However, here are some home improvement projects that are ideal to do while the kids are still at home (maybe even get them involved)!
How Your Garden Grows
Any home improvement should positively impact the potential resale value of your home. While this may be the home you want to stay in forever (if not for the majority of your children’s formative years), a job change or other surprise may force you to move. If that happens, you’ll need to sell the house as quickly as possible, and that means making it look its best as quickly as possible. Consistent home improvement projects improve the house over time and make selling simpler when the time comes.
When prospective home buyers come to see your for-sale home with their realtor, the first thing they see is your garden; a well-tended garden is their first impression of the house as a whole. Beyond the sale of your home, gardening is something that will enrich your own life; fresh air, fresh produce and herbs, and all the exercise gardening brings—it’s good for you, but it’s even better for the children!
Gardening with kids is one of the best possible ways to teach them the value of responsibility and hard work. They can learn teamwork by helping with the gardening at large—pulling small weeds, harvesting berries or other produce, watering plants that need extra help, etc.—and learn independence and responsibility by tending their own patch and reaping the consequences of however they treated it. In addition, kids are more likely to eat vegetables or fruits they grew themselves that they wouldn’t otherwise, because they’ve been invested emotionally in the plant from seed to table.
Sprout the seedlings into seeds in your kitchen before growing season technically begins. Help your children to care for them throughout the year and work together to prep the garden for winter. Caring for plants through their entire life cycles and observing them in a practical, applied environment will give your children a practical foundation for the life sciences they’ll learn in school; they’ll have real images and understanding to attach to lectures about life (no matter how boring their teachers are).
Redecorating Practically Anything
In the course of owning a home, it’s inevitable that you’ll want to redecorate something. Maybe the handles on kitchen or bathroom cabinets need to be rescued from 1993 (or 1973, heaven help you). Maybe that bedspread needs freshening, or your bedroom needs a new color scheme altogether. Maybe you need to re-think the entire décor scheme of the living room. This is a good thing, especially in relation to later selling the home.
Take your children with you when you go shopping for these things. Let them offer their own opinions, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Tell them why you want a certain color or style in the room, and have them help you look by pointing out objects that match the description. These exercises will build their cognitive ability to recognize differences, even subtle ones, in color and style, and to find the most harmonious blends of those differing colors and styles, a skill they’ll need for the rest of their lives.
Visiting a hardware store or home goods store with you and making them part of the process, is an excellent teaching opportunity; your children will see all the little components that go into a home!
Some Kind of Playroom
If you haven’t read the studies conducted about the effects of play upon a child’s social and cognitive development, you should. Cliff notes version: children learn a significant amount about their world, social norms, and how to learn in general by participating in unstructured time to simply play.
Having the best children’s outdoor playhouse will impress future buyers with children of their own—so there’s no reason not to make a space specifically for play in your home.
The classic solution is an indoor playroom, typically just off the main family living room or downstairs entertainment center. This is an excellent solution, especially in winter months when it’s simply too cold to play outside. However, you probably want your kids to be just as encouraged to play outdoors, where they can breathe fresh air and be active.
If a traditional swing set or other playground equipment is out of the question, why not install a play-house? Here, your children can play-act social situations, solve problems, and let their imaginations roam free—and it’s not just for them! Many garden shed plans closely resemble the miniature home look you’d be going for, so when your children grow up and out of the playhouse, you can use it as an attractive place to store tools and potting soil.
It can be difficult to strike the balance between improving your home and being the parent you want to be—hopefully these ideas make that balance a bit more attainable.
About the Author
David</a> is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics.