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How to Paint With Kids

Posted in Home Improvement on Oct 24, 2012, tagged with buying and selling your home

Whether you're sprucing up your house to get it ready to sell or are transforming your new digs into your dream home, painting with kids in the house can be a challenge. If your kids are old enough, you can enlist them to help with some of the easier tasks—they may even want to help. But if they are very young, you'll need to take some special precautions to keep them—and your new walls—safe.

If having your kids help with your paint job sounds like a recipe for disaster, consider that painting can actually be beneficial to your kids. It helps them explore colors, express emotions, and use their senses. Plus, it's an awesome outlet for creativity, and painting can be a great time to bond, talk and learn with your child.

Kid-friendly paint

The first thing you want to do is buy child-friendly paint. Head to your local paint or home improvement store and ask the specialist for paint that you can use with kids. Child-friendly paint will contain no VOCs ("volatile organic compound") or other toxic ingredients.

Next, make sure that your kids are in their painting clothes and shoes. It might even be helpful have them wear a hat, in case paint drips onto their head.

Lastly, give your child a specific project. For example, start them off with a closet that needs painting. If they are working on a closet or other small space, it won't matter as much if the finished product isn't as polished as you'd prefer. Whatever space they help with, simply helping at all will make them feel important.

Be sure to put down sheets or blankets on the floor and cover any furniture that remains in the room so they do not get paint on everything. They will be messy, so just be prepared and enjoy their company.

Preparation is key

When you're painting with your kids, taking care of all the prep work before they get in the room will help make sure the process goes smoothly:

  • Patch any holes. Wait for the spackle to dry, and sand smooth before you get your kids involved.
  • Wipe down the walls with a damp cloth. 
  • Tape the edge of any trim around floors, doors, windows, closets, and your ceiling. You should also tape off any light switch and electrical outlet covers. 
  • Cover your floors and furniture with blankets and tarps.

Tips for painting with your kids

The prospect of painting with your kids doesn't need to fill you with terror! Repainting your home can be an enjoyable project for everyone involved if you follow these tips:

  • Be prepared for any slight mishaps. A wet rag can work wonders for cleaning up paint spills or drips. 
  • Don't expect perfection. Try having your kids apply the first coat, or paint a small room like a closet, where any mistakes won't be as noticeable. They can also help paint their own room—chances are, they'll be a little more invested in the outcome.
  • You know your kids best. If they have short attention spans, they may not be the best helpers. 
  • If your kids are very young, it might be best to leave them with family or friends while you finish your paint job. That way, you can focus on the task at hand. 


Many hands make light work. Getting your kids involved with your repainting project, whether you're epainting your old home to get it ready to sell or are adding your own personal touch to your new home, can shorten the process and give you a great opportunity to bond as a family. Just remember to use child-friendly paint, prepare in advance, and don't sweat the small stuff!