Change can be challenging, especially with kids, here’s why involving your kids can be an important step when undertaking an extension project. I sought some expert advice on how best to approach things…
It’s exciting isn’t it? Planning an extension project. You’re going to change the way you live, overcome those awkward parts of your home, improve functionality, create more together space and bring harmony to family life… well that’s the plan!
How do the kids feel about it? Have you asked them? Maybe they’re excited too or possibly a little bit worried. Getting a new bedroom sounds like fun doesn’t it, but have any of you thought about the disruption you’ll go through before the flat pack furniture building begins?
There are hundreds of decisions required to build your new home and whilst you might want to involve the children with some of them, you’re likely to overwhelm them if you use them as a sounding board for every last fixture and fitting.
Children, on the whole are pretty adaptable but if you don’t help them through it then you might find the build phase more stressful than you’re expecting. Working around less space and a temporary kitchen is an obstacle, but can be overcome. Living together in just half of your rooms whilst the others are knocked about is only fun for a little while. Everything takes time.
Dust gets everywhere. You can tape things up as much as you like, but it will be settling for months afterwards, so there’s no escaping it. Construction is also very noisy and if you’re going to be around during the daytime you might find this quite the distraction. Perhaps moving out is an option, but there might be a cost with that. If you are planning to “live on a building site”, it’s important that you understand the risks and that you communicate with your builder’s team to ensure that you are able to keep the children safe.
Starting right from the outset before the build commences, how can you manage this changing time with the kids? What can you do to help them feel excited whilst at the same time building resilience to cope with an unusual situation? I spoke to Sarah Billingham of Confident Kids, a specialist teacher who had this advice:
“Whenever there is going to be a big change for children, we tend to jump into telling them all of the things that will be different. Instead, start by telling them what will be the same so that they have some sense of familiarity. Slowly introduce them to the things which will be different so that they have the opportunity to process each aspect without becoming overwhelmed. One of my favourite ways to explore the topic of change is to share stories together on the topic of the change ahead (in this case- building houses!). This helps children to get a sense of what to expect and the equipment they might see. Children can explore and talk about the change in a non-threatening way. “