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Tips for Surviving a Kitchen Renovation with a Toddler

Tips for Surviving a Kitchen Renovation with a Toddler

We are currently in the throws of a major kitchen overhaul in our house. It was much needed – we’ve known that since the day we naively bought our little fixer-upper thinking of all the “fun” we’d have sprucing it up ourselves. After years of planning and saving, we’re finally making it happen which I couldn’t be happier about. However, those years of planning and saving also mean that we now have a toddler underfoot as we tear apart about a fourth of our house which is, to put it delicately, less than ideal. So far, there are some things I think we planned well for and some others we could have planned better.

Tips for Renovating Your Kitchen with a Toddler Underfoot

  • Renovate during warm weather. We did this mainly for meal planning purposes figuring we could easily grill most nights and thus avoid massive amounts of gross takeout. It has also been awesome because we’re able to keep Liam outside playing at night and even eat outside on the deck, keeping him far away from the craziness inside the house. It also meant we could open windows to air things out when we needed to. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if Liam was cooped inside the house during this whole project.
  • Buy extra gates. We forgot this one and while it wasn’t a huge problem, it did mean we ended up basically playing goalie on the nights when there was tile setting or other potential kitchen obstacles or dangers. Being able to throw up a gate definitely would have made everyone’s lives easier.
  • Set up your temporary toddler-proof kitchen. Before we started the project, we set up our little temporary kitchen area like every home reno blog tells you to do. What we forgot is to make sure it was still safe/toddler-proof for Liam. I put our dishes and glasses in the small butcher block cabinet that is basically serving as our kitchen right now and it wasn’t until Liam emerged with two glasses, one in each hand, that I realized my mistake. We had to move everything around keeping in mind what was okay to be within his reach and move everything else up higher. We also try to keep certain snacks that Liam would eat all day if he could out of sight and reach (easier said than done with our current kitchen setup). I didn’t really think about Liam-proofing our temporary kitchen setup before and I definitely wish this is something I had done initially.
  • Don’t plan to rely on dinners out. We don’t eat out very often and if we do, it’s always on the weekend after we’ve made sure to run Liam ragged get Liam some exercise first. The first night of the reno, we made a last minute decision to go out to eat right after getting home from work. Big mistake. He was cranky after a long day and a long commute in the car and it was not a fun dinner experience for anyone.
  • Have a last minute escape plan (especially for the weekend). We had planned to stay in the house throughout the whole renovation. How bad could it really be, right? We learned pretty quick that as demo started and deliveries started coming in (and taking over every other room of the house), we would rather be anywhere but here. Thankfully, my parents live close and were thrilled to have us stay with them for the weekend, giving us a respite from the craziness. Liam got to roam free and we even got to sneak out to do some last minute kitchen errands while he napped and played with his grandparents.

Liam eating in the kitchen

So far, it’s been tough but overall we’re surviving better than I thought. And there is definitely a side benefit to doing all this while Liam is little – he finds the parade of guys and tools and trucks coming in and out of our house endlessly fascinating. He’ll probably be sad when all the excitement is over. On the other hand, if I have to wash another glass or dish in a bathroom sink again in this lifetime it will be too soon.



  1. Pingback: Moving & Home Renovation Survival Tips for Families | Bright HorizonsThe Family Room |

  2. Kirk Enterprises, Inc. April 30, 2015 at 8:31 am

    I am very impressed with your idea to transform the entire look of our kitchen. Thanks for sharing this interesting blog with all of us.

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