By Candis Meredith
I like to think that home restoration is in my kids’ blood. After all, I’ve loved old houses since I was a little girl, and Andy and I fell in love and got married while we were working together on Love House. While our baby girl isn’t old enough to do much but steal our hearts every day, our six sons are all already getting more and more helpful on bigger renovation jobs with every project we take on. Not only do they help watch each other and their little sister, but they’re really starting to appreciate and help with the family business, too.
Of course, they probably wouldn’t be nearly as enthusiastic about our work or as willing to pitch in if we didn’t make this a true family affair. I’ve had a lot of people ask me recently how we make it happen, so here are a few of my favorite tips for getting the whole family into your restoration business.
Be Enthusiastic About Your Work
First of all, our boys love our work because we love it and share it with them. We’ve restored Love House by hand with all the care in the world so that it’ll be our family home where we’ll raise all of our kids and where we hope to see our grandkids running around someday, too. Our boys have seen that progress, and they’ve seen the love we’ve put into it. They see how happy it makes us, and they understand that this isn’t just a business to us. Kids are really observant, and if they see that you’re enthusiastic and that you love what you do, they’ll be excited about it, too.
Start Sharing Your Projects With Your Kids at a Young Age
As much as you want to savor every minute when they’re little, your small children want to feel grown-up and responsible. Choose a day when it’s safe to bring them on site, and pick projects that they can help you with, starting at a very young age. Sometimes you’ll spend a little bit more time and energy on a renovation that your child “helps” with, but it’s worth it to teach them that they’re a part of the family business and that they have a place working with you.
Don’t Use Work as Punishment
If you’re like me and a lot of people our age, added chores were probably a big part of your punishments when you were growing up. There’s nothing wrong with that, but don’t make working on one of your renovations a punishment. Instead, make it family fun time. When your kids are old enough to help you with a project, make it a fun thing for them to do and plan a whole day around it. Take everyone out to a delicious lunch or have a picnic on the lawn at your restoration property.
Then, as your kids get older, invite them to work on your projects more and to learn the business. And don’t be afraid to pay them for their work and show them that they really are a part of your business. Make sure they know that they’ll have an even bigger part in it, if they want it, after they get out of high school and/or college.
Whatever you do, don’t force your kids to be a part of your restoration business, or they’ll resent it. If you make working with you about fun and family bonding, it’ll never be a forced punishment, and your kids will grow up knowing what it’s like to see real work come together in amazing results.