In a kitchen remodel, what should be your first consideration? No, it's not style, colour or materials, although these things are important. The most important factor to consider are those little people that run around your kitchen, grab snacks from the pantry and do their homework while you cook: your kids.
As you plan your remodel, consider what layout would support your kids as they do their daily activities. Also, think about safety the kitchen is the room where kids could most likely get hurt.
Here are some of the top things to consider when creating a kid-friendly kitchen.
Get a kitchen island
When you have a kitchen island, you have a space where kids can work on homework, eat snacks and gather together. A kitchen island is important if you want to catch some one-on-one time with your kids after school. If you provide food, the kitchen island serves as a space where you can talk with your children. Since the kitchen island is usually featured in the centre of the kitchen, all other appliances and furniture should work around it.
Choose kid-friendly countertops
Are you considering new countertops? Quartz and laminate countertops are less likely to stain than natural stone. Plus, they are easy to clean. Stone countertops are more valuable, but they are easily stained by young family members. Save on stress by getting something kid-friendly.
Pick easy-to-clean flooring
Which flooring materials are easiest to clean? Linoleum, sheet vinyl and glazed ceramic are all good choices. Hardwood can soak up moisture, so you'll need to clean up any spills immediately.
Add pantry space
Include an easy-to-reach pantry so kids don't have to climb onto counters to grab snacks. As for keeping your valuables and dishes safe, choose a space for a pantry or cabinet that's away from the main kitchen area. Make sure there are internal locks on the cabinet doors so curious hands don't accidentally knock over Grandmother's china.
Avoid the open stove
You might be tempted to replace your stove with an open-flame model, but consider your children. Do they often help you cook? Would they touch the open flame? If so, you may want to choose a glass-top stove.
You can also install a stove guard, a barrier which stops children from reaching and touching the stove.
If you don't have a stove guard, use the rear burners as much as possible, and make sure the pots' handles aren't sticking out where children could grab them or knock them over. And stove guard or not, always keep flammable materials-plastic bags, towels, oven mitts, etc.-away from the stove.
Have you been eyeing a new gas stove? If you choose one, regularly check it for leaks and make sure the "on" light works properly.
Secure electrical outlets
Keep electrical outlets away from areas where children can stick fingers or utensils inside. The outlets should be higher up on the wall. They should also have covers to prevent accidental electrocution. And make sure there are no dangling cords that kids could trip over.
Make sure you teach kids safety rules about kitchen appliances. For example, they should never try to get something out of the toaster by sticking a utensil inside. Instead, they should first unplug the toaster, and then shake out the item.
If an appliance isn't in use, unplug it and store it away from young children's reach.
Use child locks
We already talked about using locks for your cabinet-but don't forget about drawers. If your drawers don't have childproof locks, your young child could reach into drawers and find unexpected surprises, like sharp knives and fire starters.
Choose locks that are strong enough that a child couldn't open them, but simple enough that they don't create trouble for you. The locks should also keep the doors completely closed-some locks allow doors to open slightly, which could pinch your child's fingers.
You may also wish to install a childproof latch on your dishwasher to prevent your young children from grabbing knives. If your child is mischievous enough to crawl into the refrigerator, install a child lock on that door, too.
Arrange your supplies
After the remodel, consider where you will place food and other supplies. Items you should keep out of children's reach include:
- Aluminium foil and plastic wrap dispensers (cutting hazards)
- Spices (toxic if ingested)
Keep a few healthy child-friendly snacks within reach. That way, children will grab what they need and won't need to climb up the shelves for a bite to eat.
Add extra appliances
Having a large family makes cooking and cleaning a lot of work. That's why you should consider two sinks, one for washing dishes and another for rinsing them. If you have a lot of dishes, you could consider installing two dishwashers.
Choosing colours, styles and materials for your remodel is always lots of fun. But don't forget to keep your kids in mind. The kitchen should be a safe, fun place for them, too.