In many households, the kitchen is the hub of the home. Not only are meals prepared and eaten here, but it’s where you teach your children about good nutrition and the importance of taking the time to catch up with your family. You want your kitchen to be a place where your children feel comfortable and want to spend time when they are little and as they grow up.
Here are some ideas to make your kitchen more child-friendly as you plan your kitchen remodeling project.
• A window that looks out onto the backyard is ideal to allow you to watch your children play while you are taking care of things in the kitchen.
• If you do not have a great room, think about taking out a non-structural wall between the kitchen and living room or playroom. This will create better flow between the rooms and allow you to keep an eye on the kids without having them underfoot.
• Kitchen countertops should be non-porous, stain and scratch resistant.
• The kitchen island is a great place to add seating where the kids can sit and chat while parents are cooking and doubles as a spot for crafts and to do homework.
• If you have mini-bakers or chefs on your hands, you could even have a small section of counter or island that is lower to make it easier for them to work. If this isn’t feasible or doesn’t seem like a good long-term solution for you, a small table pushed up against the back of the island or against the wall can serve the same purpose.
• Rather than putting the microwave over the stove as a combo with the hood fan, place it on a lower plane so they can easily reach it.
• When choosing a new refrigerator, think of how easily your kids will be able to get their own juice or popsicles from the fridge. A side-by-side or French door fridge will offer lower shelves and easier access.
• If you have very young children, knobs at the front of ovens, stoves and dishwashers might not be a good idea since they can accidentally be turned on when little hands play with the buttons.
• If you have toddlers, you may be interested to know that some appliances, notably dishwashers, are available with child safety features or locks.
• Have a step stool on hand for your slightly older children so they can access things that would otherwise be out of reach.
• The kitchen is not a place where you want to have a childish decor; however, you can make it more appealing to children by incorporating some pops of vibrant color. This can be done with paint, small appliances and utensils, patterned rug in front of the sink, curtains, placemats or fabric on stools and chairs.
• While we’re on the subject of stools and chairs, make sure they are covered in stain-resistant fabrics that are easily wiped clean.
• Chalkboard paint on the wall or on one side of the island gives your kids somewhere to draw and play while you’re busy.
Word to the wise: if you can, move your children out of the house for the duration of the kitchen remodeling. Not only do you not want them underfoot potentially slowing down the workers, you also want to know that they are safe and away from the chaos.
Your children won’t be tiny forever, so be sure that whatever kid-friendly elements you incorporate into your kitchen, they grow with your children and are functional for your family in the long-term.
Related article – Bathroom Remodels That Will Grow With Your Kids