If there is one place that kids love in a home, it is the kitchen. There is a certain kind of attraction kids have for the kitchen, and you will find them going in and out of it all the time. They love watching, while their moms cook in the kitchen, and are absolutely over the moon when they are asked to help in the kitchen.
One of the better activities for kids is asking them to complete a kitchen chore or creating a specific kitchen-centric task (e.g. cooking) especially for them.
Having said that, the kitchen is also an unsafe place for kids considering all the corners and the sharp and heavy kitchen appliances that are to be found in the kitchen.
If you want your kids to enjoy their time in the kitchen, without you having to worry whether they will hurt themselves or not, it is imperative that your kitchen is kid’s friendly.
So, without further ado, here are 5 things to keep in mind while designing a kid’s friendly kitchen:
1. No Edges Please
Make sure that your kitchen doesn’t have tables, countertops or other surfaces that have hard sharp corners. It’s important that you choose surfaces with a rounded edge, to ensure that your kids don’t hurt themselves when they bump into them; because this is going to happen sometime or the other. In case such edges are unavoidable, place protective guards or cushioning.
2. Plan for Empty Spaces
A common problem encountered in many kitchens is a clutter. There is absolutely no place to move around and to be fair, not many homes especially city apartments have a huge kitchen space, and homeowners must make do with very limited and uncomfortable kitchen spaces.
But, even in such cases, where there is a paucity of space, try and avoid cluttering the kitchen. Make sure that your kids can move around freely in the kitchen without bumping into things. Try to make do with the bare minimum kitchen amenities till your kid grows up.
In case you have a large kitchen area, make sure you have plenty of free space in the kitchen. Don’t go overboard in adding amenities such as storage areas, countertops and more, just because you have space available.
3. Manage Heights Optimally
When you plan your kitchen design, think very carefully about your storage, countertop and table heights.
So, if you want a certain section of your countertop to be accessible to kids, lower its height, the same is true for your table; also plan for certain kids’ friendly storage areas which the kids can easily reach so that they don’t stretch or stand on other furniture to reach the items stored in these storage spaces.
However, also take note of the items that need to be made inaccessible to your kids, e.g. stove, knives, oven, mixer, etc. Design high storage spaces and higher countertops as well, wherein you can keep these items out of reach.
So, the rule of thumb is – Keep items that kids would like to play with (which are safe) within reach, and those that are dangerous out of reach.
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4. An Inviting Place
Kids love kitchens, so why not make your kitchen an “island” in your home, where the family can sit together, kids can do their homework, or play a board game or just sit and talk. There are plenty of kitchen island designs you can choose from, but it is imperative that there is sufficient space for people, especially your kids, to move or work around it.
What’s more, your kitchen island shouldn’t get in the way. It should fit in perfectly with the overall design of your home, and its principal purpose should be to make your kitchen kids friendly.
5. Easy to Clean and Maintain
Use materials that are easy to clean and maintain and keep your kitchen as hygienic as possible; your kids are going to spill things and there are times when you won’t really know about the ‘spill’ until later.
So, make sure that the ‘post-spill’ wiping job isn’t much of an effort. One of the ways you can do this is to laminate your kitchen tops. This makes it easier to clean.
Also, think about using tiles on your kitchen floor, as these are easier to clean, or you can also use linoleum flooring material, which is resistant to spills and stains. The options are out there, all you need to do is choose the right one.
Bonus Tip: It is imperative that you understand that with kids around, your kitchen can never be perfectly designed and might always be cluttered. You will have to make changes, often quick changes to meet the demands of kid’s safety.
Don’t let that bother you and do not demand too much out of your kitchen. Embrace the imperfections in your kitchen, and just try to make it a central part of your home. E.g. if your kids are spending a lot of time in the kitchen, you could just add a blackboard to your kitchen (it might look out of place), but your kids can then use the blackboard as a part of their learning routine, and you can keep watch while they are doing so.
When it comes to kids’ friendly kitchen design, it’s all about you not having to worry when your kids are unsupervised in the kitchen.
Say you are lounging on the sofa taking a well-earned rest, and your kids think this is the right time to have some fun in the kitchen. In this case, all you need to worry about is the mess they might make, and not their safety. You rest assured that your kitchen design is such that there is very minimal or no chance of your kids hurting themselves.