Anyone who has ever dealt with kids in the home knows that they can get a bit...unruly at times. By some unspoken law, this becomes especially true when work needs to be done around the house. When the mops and dust pans come out they seem to bring a wave of renewed, uncontrollable energy with them.
Upon making the decision to clean house, redecorate, or renovate a room, you have to take adventurous little ones into account. It is far too easy for them to get underfoot. Innocently, they put themselves in danger and bring your stress level to new heights. It's no fun for either party, so why not take a creative approach to rectifying the problem before it gets to that point?
Here are 5 inexpensive, kid-friendly solutions you can use to protect your home and peace of mind while still bumping up your status to the "cool parent":
1) The Toy Corral - Keep Toys Off Your Floor
This is an ingenious way to ignite a child's imagination and keep stray toys off your freshly-cleaned floor. All you need is painter's tape! Find a corner of your room that is best suited for playtime. From there, just mark off the area with the painter's tape. Create a square on your floor with the stuff, and then fill that space with all the toys you don't want to see anywhere else in the house. Simple!
Bonus Points: Really play into the "corral" idea with a country accent and "cowboy lingo". You can even decorate the wall with pictures from the Wild West. Make sure that your kiddos know that "this-here" territory is a safe-haven for all toys, but outside the border of their land are "toy rustlers" who might take their toys away if found out of the corral.
2) Carpet Tile Lily Pads - Protect Tiny Toes
In an ideal world a child would never step foot onto a home renovation site, but it's extremely difficult to completely prevent debris and other home makeover grit from traveling around your home. If you're worried about your child's feet, simply pick up some free carpet samples or spongy floor tiles while choosing your floor. Place them around the compromised areas about a foot or two apart depending on your child's size. From there, tell them that they can only step on the "lily pads". DO NOT have them jump from one to the other unless you have secured the squares to a no-slip bottom layer. When the lily pads disappear from the house, a special surprise will be waiting for them in the newly remodeled room.
Bonus Points: Make the game more engaging with creative placing of the tiles, numbering the squares, having objectives for certain tiles (ex. sing a silly song every time you step on a blue tile), and/or upping the stakes on the surprise (ex. if they can make it across the tiles without making even a peep, they get a bigger surprise).
3) Box Car City - Keep Kids Away From Freshly Mopped/Waxed Floors
Slippery floors can be dangerous, so let's make running around on them less appealing. Once again, bring out that painter's tape and create a series of "roads" around the house where you prefer them to walk. Then, have your mini race car drivers make cars by decorating cardboard boxes. Crayons, stickers, glitter; the works. Kids will love getting to "drive" around the house in their personalized rides, and your floors can dry in peace.
Bonus Points: Take the roads a step further and create an entire town in your home. You can pretend the kitchen is a grocery store, the put up paper stop signs, and have a drive-in movie after dinner.
4) Hibernation Station: Make Alone Time Fun
We're bringing the boxes back for a new adventure! This time you're going to keep the little ones in one place where they can stay safe while you and your flooring contractors get work done. Simply find a big box and fill it with snacks, comfy pillows, crayons, books, toys, etc. Make your child's box as magical and personal as you can for them. Let them know that this is their own special space until the icky grownup work is done.
Bonus Points: Create a story around this unique play day. Your kids could be on a space mission on Mars, or giant grizzly bears hibernating for the winter, or at the bottom of the sea in a submarine. Whatever fits their personality, make it theirs.