In the past 20 years, the kitchen has become the new living room. Modern kitchen design allows for the kitchen to be a living space that flows into other areas of the home.
We all know that kitchens are spaces that are for much more than cooking. It has become the hub of the family’s coming and goings nowadays. Homework is often done in the kitchen. Many people are even installing chef’s nooks in the kitchen that has space for a desktop or laptop, plus a writing desk.
Kids love spending time in the kitchen with mom or dad. They are very curious and want to see, learn and help. Often parents feel they need to exclude children from the kitchen to get the task done, or to keep the child safe.
However, studies show that letting children help reduces picky eating.
Smart kitchen design will help your family have a happy, child-friendly space that will grow with the kids.
Read on for our top 10 kitchen design tips that will make parenting easier!
Kitchen Design From Kids’ Height
If you are planning a kitchen renovation or are buying a new build, imagine the kitchen from your child’s perspective (and height).
Think about what cupboards and drawers they can reach and consider the contents that will live there.
You’ll probably want your children to help set the table at some point. Are the plates accessible to them? Or are they out of reach?
“I’m thirsty!” is something you probably hear 200 times a day. Instill some independence by making it possible for your pre-schoolers to get their own drink of water.
Keep their cups somewhere they can reach without assistance. Same goes for water. Consider installing a water tap on the island or buying a fridge with a water system. This will make parenting so much easier!
Keep Them Busy
Kids want to be in the middle of the action. So no matter how many fun toys are in their room, they want to hang out where you are when you are busying with meal prep or cleanup.
Did you know that women spend an average of 51 minutes in the kitchen doing meal prep?
That is a whole hour that you need to keep the kids busy while you get stuff done. Instead of trying to banish them from the kitchen (it never works for long), make a space for them.
Add a Blackboard
You can use blackboard paint to easily make one cupboard or wall chalk-friendly.
With a few colorful pieces of chalk stored in a cute tin box, your kids will entertain themselves while you get your tasks done.
Plus, having a blackboard in the kitchen makes it easy to write down reminders, grocery lists or phone numbers.
Include Kid-Size Furniture
Find a little corner of the kitchen where there is not much traffic. Tuck a little child-size worktop or play kitchen there.
Your little ones will feel that they are not being ignored. Plus, you’ll be able to keep your eyes on your tot while your hands are wrist deep in dough.
Bonus tip: give your little one a chunk of dough to work with and a small rolling pin and watch them be occupied forever!
Keep some special kid-sized kitchen tools on hand just for them. A small whisk, a small plastic mixing bowl and a couple measuring cups can go a long way in making the kitchen a happy place.
Just because there are kids in the house, doesn’t mean that your home has to be an unruly mess. Classy home furniture can work well for families with kids as well.
Fit in a Breakfast Nook
If you are remodeling an older home, chances are high that the kitchen has a space for a breakfast table. These were very popular back in the day when families preferred to keep the dining room more formal.
Nowadays, these can be wasted space. Instead, why not create a trendy breakfast nook? You can make the seats built into the walls to make an L around a small table.
These seats are the perfect height for little ones to be able to get up and down on their own.
Plus, you can make them storage benches so that they are utilitarian as well as comfortable.
And it’s for more than just breakfast! Keep some craft supplies in the benches and pull them out for your little ones to do some art while you’re busy in the kitchen.
While you’re at it, check out this healthy homemade pizza casserole recipe the whole family will love.
Give them Access
Countertops are often too tall for little ones to reach. This is a good thing when they are very young, but as they get older you want them to start to learn how to do certain jobs.
Keep a step stool in the kitchen within easy reach. Avoid a folding ladder that can pinch little fingers. Opt for a child-friendly step instead.
A step stool in front of the sink is an easy way to encourage washing of hands before eating. You can also teach pre-schoolers to wash fruit and veggies.
Kitchen Design with an Island
Islands are ultra trendy in kitchen design these days. It’s no wonder! These free-standing countertops give you an added workstation and a space where the whole family can gather.
If you have the budget for it, an extra sink in the island can give kids a place to wash hands or help with salad prep without being in the way.
Barstools on the other side of the island are great for families to hang out in the kitchen while staying out of the work triangle. It lets you see what the kids are up to and lets them talk to you while you work.
If you don’t have an island, a kitchen table works just as well.
When thinking about your kitchen design, remember to consider safety. Yes, your kids won’t always be little. But while they are, the kitchen should be a safe place for them.
At some point, your toddler will be the exact height of the countertops. He or she will forget that they can no longer walk under the island and BAM. Avoid these nasty head bruises by ensuring all your corners are rounded.
You can also install corner protectors made of silicone that protect little heads. These can be easily removed when your kids are older.
Drawers and Cupboards
Ideally, all dangerous items will be kept up high.
Most people keep cleaning products under the sink. Reconsider that option when your children are young. If you have a pantry, the top shelf works just as well for chemicals.
Baby fingers are notorious for getting caught in closing drawers. It’s worth the extra cost to install soft-close drawers. Plus, they don’t slam shut. This is a nice bonus if you are sleeping in on the weekend and someone is in the kitchen.
Another option is to install locking systems on all cupboards and drawers. You can get magnetic ones that require a magnetic key to release from magnets suppliers. Or ones that require you to push and pull at the same time.
Avoid Slippery Floors
Non-slip floors are essential in any kitchen – especially when there are little feet running around.
Choose matte instead of glossy tiles. These are not as slippery and tend to hide dirt better. Or ditch the tile and go for a lovely bamboo floor in the kitchen.
Kitchen Design for Families
Kitchen design for families takes some planning. However, the results are worth it. With a kid-friendly kitchen zone, you’ll have a place that your kids are comfortable in. And you’ll be comfortable allowing them in it.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll have a budding chef in your home who says “let me make dinner tonight, mom” in a few years!
Encourage that path by reading 9 fun cooking and baking games for kids.