I let my 5-year old son help paint the focal wall in my studio.  Amazingly, there are no blue paint drips on the cork floor or stray paint roller marks anywhere in the room.  You might think I am crazy, but when you have an eager helper it is sometimes easier to let them help then to limit yourself to doing projects when they are not around.  So, what is my secret to painting with kids?


Well, just like anything else with kids, it requires patience, supervision, and ground rules.  Everything takes more time with kids, so be patient.  Supervision is important with paint (and anything else messy or toxic if ingested).  There are ground rules for parent and child.

Here are the ground rules I follow for painting with kids.

Rules for Mommy:

  • Cut in first without a child present.  Cutting in takes a steady hand and focus.  I prefer to do it by myself before letting my son help.  I actually trimmed this wall while he was at school and did the first coat of paint.  I let him help with a second coat after school.
  • If a child is painting, mommy is not painting.  I do not had my son a brush or roller, and then turn my back to do my painting.  Instead, I supervise and help him.
  • Only mommy loads the roller.  I have seen my son squeeze glue out of a glue bottle, there is no way I am letting that kid decide the right amount of paint to load on a roller.  I load it, he rolls it.
  • Mommy is quality control.  Re-roll over any areas that need it after your child has had a chance to paint.  Rollers are heavy for kids and it is hard for them to push against the wall and get even coverage.  I let my son roll as best he could, then I took the roller and went over the same area.

Rules for Child: (I talked to my son about these rules before we started)

  • Listen to mommy and mommy will show you how to paint.
  • Mommy gets to paint the top part of the wall, you get to paint the bottom.  There is plenty of wall for kids to paint below 4 ft, so I keep my son off the ladder.
  • Do not set down the paint roller, touch the paint roller except on the handle, or let the paint roller touch anything else in the room.  Hand the paint roller to mommy when you are done.
  • Hold the roller firmly with both hands.  I let me son put one hand on the handle and one on the bar holding the roller.  It was easier for him this way.


My son happily helped me finish the second coat of paint on the focal wall.  It only took about 20 minutes, which was perfect for his attention span and my patience.  I think he liked painting, because he is dreaming up what rooms we can paint next :)

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7 Responses to Painting Walls with Kids

  1. Sara says:

    Love this! My daughter wanted to help me paint my island the other day, I wanted her to help but was terrified of drips, streaks etc. I tried to be calm and patient and let her help, but after she dripped on the drop cloth, stepped in it and got it on her cheek, I couldn’t do it anymore and made her quit! She was using a brush and I definitely will be the one loading the brush next time.

    • Jackie says:

      Sara, I totally get it. We have had little fingers in paint and then wiped on their clothes! I should have added to this post that my son is eager to help paint the spaces that just got fresh new carpet, but I just can’t take the risk even with drop clothes. Luckily we already painted most of those spaces, but it is his playroom he wants to help with. I am channeling his energies into helping with other things for the room!

  2. My daughter helped me recently when I painted her room. I’m glad she lost patience soon and we made a playdate with her friend that day so she was distracted from painting.
    Jule {inside9B}

  3. Amy Fretz says:

    Aww, Jackie you have the cutest helper! I love that you clearly talked about the rules before hand. I admire that you realized you couldn’t work at the same time-I’ve learned this one the hard way! I agree they have short attention spans so enjoy/endure for 20 minutes and all is good! I like your color choice as well! Good job mama all the way around!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I enjoyed your post…my son has helped me paint for the last four years or so. He’s 7 now. I let him at first b/c it was his room we were painting. I agree–it helps to not have to do projects just when they are not around. He’s done it a bunch, so I let him paint with a brush while I cut in. I also bought a small-size roller for him. With a lot of coaching, he’s not bad! I do go back over his areas. I let my daughter paint for the first time a few weeks ago…she is four. My two tips? Tape the dropcloths to the baseboards. Also, check feet and hands for drips before they leave the painting area!

  5. Shelley says:

    Good for you , Mom! That takes guys but well worth the effort in relationships :)

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