When we buy or build a home, we always take into consideration what it will be like for raising kids. Is it close to good schools? Does it have a spacious yard? Are the bedrooms big enough? Whether we already have kids or just want to plan for that possibility, it’s a very big piece of the puzzle.
Once we’re established in a home, we start thinking about how to keep it in good condition with our kids. And if you have boys, that challenge is even greater.
Boys are rough. They like to wrestle, fight, throw things, hit things, climb on things, run, jump, ride bikes, and play baseball. As a result, they knock holes in walls, break windows, wear out the grass, and create mud holes. That makes lots of projects for you. Let’s look at the best way to manage some of the most common things.
With boys, it’s always smart to keep some lawn seed on hand. All that biking, running, football, tag, and everything else is incredibly hard on your lawn. This is especially true if the grass is newly established. And once the grass is worn down, you’ll be lucky if dirt is all you have. Most likely, you’ll instead end up with a patch of weeds that will use that space as a foothold to invade further into your grass.
Speed is essential: The longer a space goes with no grass, the more weeds there will be. Bare ground will also wash or blow away, leaving a basin that will leave your yard wavy and bumpy, even after grass is re-established.
As soon as toys, feet, or tools damage your grass, get in there and re-seed. Keep it watered, keep it mulched, and keep it protected from further abuse until it can get filled back in. And try to prevent damage by putting down durable stones or other surfaces in the heaviest areas for boy traffic.
You can’t stop boys. You can only hope to contain them. When the weather is bad or the sun has gone down, your boys will be playing indoors. Before long, somebody’s toy helicopter will make a test flight or your living room will become the home venue of an arena football team.
Whatever the particulars, you can expect a hole in your wall somewhere along the way. Patching drywall isn’t too tough, depending on the severity. The smaller holes can be quickly swiped with some joint compound, then later sanded and painted. Bigger ones may require a little reinforcement, and the really big ones–the ones the size of an airborne younger brother–will need an actual piece of drywall.
Managing these repairs will require not just that you hang on to a container of joint compound and some scraps of sheetrock. You’ll also want to hang on to extra paint and store it in a climate-controlled area, or at least have a list of paint names so you can get more mixed.
This is the area that will probably be the most expensive and problematic, and the most difficult to do on your own. Windows are built in a complete form, with multiple layers of glass and even special gas between the layers for UV protection. Repair isn’t usually in the cards.
So we get back to hanging on to information. If you build a home, write down window sizes, brands, and model numbers. It will save the trouble of having a contractor make two trips. You can simply order the replacement and tell the contractor when to come install it.
You can also do some prevention. Homes with functioning shutters can be closed up to protect against impacts. Furniture can be arranged to make it tougher to get near windows. Landscaping can stand guard against airborne projectiles. With windows, an ounce of prevention is definitely worth a pound of cure.
Boys are full of energy and adventure. In small groups, they are a powerful force of nature that can damage your home and your yard. It’s not entirely preventable, but you can plan for how to undo the impacts of all that testosterone.