When creating your dream family home - or even when simply attempting to spruce up the place a little - it's always helpful if you can find a way to get the kids involved. Decorating and landscaping can be a tricky and messy business at times but there are numerous tasks that can become a family affair. You might not get your kids to remodel your bathroom but there are fun little ways that you can make them feel included. In this guide we highlight some of the options available, presenting some decorating and landscaping task that your kids can help out with.
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Painting truly is the perfect way to get kids involved with home decorating. What child doesn't love getting messy with paint and engaging in their creative side? A great way to do this, is if you need to paint the child's bedroom. This will mean they have an instant interest in the task as it involves their own space. Perhaps they can even help you pick the colour - within reason, of course.
Jim from the parenting blog Everything for Dads told us this is his top recommendation for getting children involved in decorating: "I am a DIY enthusiast and an entrepreneur dad of seven, so I need all the decorating help I can get from my brood! I have always involved my children in painting, which is something they quickly have learned to enjoy. At first, they never liked to clean-up, but I have instilled into them that you cannot have the fun painting bit without the other, so now they have learned to clean up the mess as they go.
"So many dads feel that the only way they can have quality time with their children is to do something 'fun', like going to the cinema, a sporting event, or eating out. However, the simplest things in life are often the most fulfilling. If you use decorating as a learning opportunity and ask your children to research how to do things and then apply them, it can be a fantastic bonding experience."
Jim also shared some advice for how to make painting with kids go smoothly: "First, always set a simple goal at first, one that is achievable within a relatively short space of time. For example, try to complete the painting of one wall in a room first, give the children a chance to enjoy their handiwork and take a break: then on to the next task.
"Second, never start a decorating task when you or your kids are feeling tired. A recipe for disaster... If you make the children feel like you need their help, they will feel useful. If you all make mistakes, so what? Don't get frustrated, learn to fix the errors as a team effort. I can now safely delegate to my kids to do the things that I once had to do myself, get to enjoy their company, and even get to put my feet up from time to time!"
In the same vein as the above, tackling the garden fence together can be a great landscaping option. If you have decided the old garden fence needs a touch-up, or if you are in the process of erecting a new fence on your property, why not get the kids involved with the painting side of things? When the sun is out, this can be a great way to not only get them out of the house, but the finished product will also give them a sense of pride. Every time they come home from school or are playing outside, they can think: "I helped paint that."
While designing your dream garden, perhaps there is room for the children to have their own space to enjoy. Creating a treehouse is the perfect solution - a timeless source of joy for kids and a great way to get them involved with the landscaping. Telling the little ones that they are going to get their own treehouse but that you need their help to build it is the best way to get things going. Of course, you will be responsible for the more dangerous elements but there will certainly be more simple aspects of the build that the kids can help out with. They will certainly be eager to help when they know what the result will be!
Home decorating isn't all about mass re-designs and installing new fixtures, at some point you are going to have to think about the little bits and pieces that make a home a home. For many, this is the art that hangs on the wall or sits on top of a mantlepiece. So, while you are busy revamping the bannisters, why not get the children to start making some cute art to put up? From paintings and drawings to self-portraits, let their creative side run wild, put their little masterpieces in a frame and then once you are ready, put their art somewhere where it can be marvelled at. This way, mum and dad can get busy with the trickier tasks, but the children will be part of the process.
There's no better way to get kids excited about decorating or landscaping than by letting them help plan. Lee Connelly, a family gardening TV presenter, also known as the Skinny Jean Gardener, says that getting kids in on the planning stages is a big help:
"The biggest thing to get kids landscaping and gardening with parents, is to make them part of the adventure, from start to finish. So before you even start on the garden, sit down and design your garden together, putting in ideas from mum, dad, and the kids too, that will create a space that will work for the whole family. With equipment like slides and trampolines, make them part of the garden design, rather than something that's just plonked in the middle of the lawn."
By giving them some responsibility and making them truly feel part of the process, their attention will be focused, and it won't feel like a chore. Sitting down with them to plan what their new garden or bedroom will look like, for example, and even enlisting their expert drawing skills, will be lots of fun for them and will make the actual act of bringing the plans into reality all the more satisfying. Primarily, let the children know their ideas are welcome and make sure not to reject everything so they don't get discouraged.
A big part of landscaping is deciding what plants and flowers are going to go where and then the task of actually planting them. This is yet another area that the children can help out with. This can be a really fun task with a little instruction and even more fun with them if you give them a little bit of control - perhaps in their very own garden patch.
Catherine from the home and garden blog Growing Family spoke with us about what a great task this can be: "Growing flowers from seed is a great gardening project for parents and kids to do together. All you need is compost, plant pots and seeds. Sunflowers are perfect, because the seeds are easy for little hands to deal with, and the plants are pretty low maintenance to grow. You can also have a competition to see which family member grows the tallest plant - great for sneaking a bit of maths into the project!"
We hope the above ideas and suggestions will be helpful for you and your family. By getting the kids involved, decorating and landscaping can change from a chore into some wonderful quality time spent together. And with your little helpers by your side, the whole process might go just a little bit quicker!