Trying to cope with young children in an ordinary kitchen can be a nightmare. Getting your kitchen rebuilt while you have kids in the house is not much fun, either. So if you have a baby on the way, or you’re planning one, now is the time to have a serious think about redesigning the heart of your home. A well-designed kitchen not only improves safety, it can help you work much more efficiently and it can help your kids learn the practical skills they’ll need in adult life.
The most important stage of building your new kitchen is the planning. This is where you think about how existing household members use the kitchen and what they need (in terms of countertop height, access to utensils and so on). It’s also where you think about what your kids will need, when they’re small and as they grow up. If you plan to let them have pets, you should think about what those pets will need, such as place to eat and sleep and to have food and toys stored. Remember that overall food storage needs will increase as your family grows, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough storage space. And do not forget about your box fans, careful planning can save you a lot of time later.
Focus on safety
When there are kids in the kitchen, safety has to be top priority, so make sure that the following apply:
Potentially dangerous utensils and glassware are out of reach.
Foods that could be poisonous prior to cooking are out of reach.
Cables are properly secured so nothing hangs down where it could be grabbed.
Tables and countertops have rounded corners.
Remember that good hygiene is also a safety consideration, and that kids can make a lot of mess. Make sure your countertops and flooring are easy to clean. Even if you live in the city and only have a small kitchen, it’s well worth investing in a washing machine, which will make it much easier to cope, especially in the early years.
Start them young
A well-planned family kitchen also means kids can start early on learning cooking skills. Baking is a great way to begin, and a suitable seat at a sturdy kitchen table means your child can enjoy activities like mixing cakes or rolling pastry. Keeping one low cupboard or drawer full of plastic utensils for the child’s use only means they will engage with this more enthusiastically and will be less likely to crave things they have been told are off limits. If everything has a designated place, it’s less likely to be left on the floor.
Learning about healthy eating should also start early. Keeping a fruit bowl at an accessible height means kids will learn they can snack on fruit as often as they like, reducing their desire for other kinds of snack.
With these issues in mind, kitchen design is easier than you might think, and your life will be easier if you can make it happen.