Everyone knows kitchens can be dangerous for children. While baby gates and safety locks come in handy, the fact is children will always gravitate to the kitchen – especially if that’s where you are.
If you’re updating or creating a kitchen in your family home, consider these 6 ideas for a kid-friendly kitchen and how you can get one.
1) Tapware With Mixer Pullouts
How many of you have washed your kids in the sink? Sometimes when your toddler dumps a bowl of spaghetti on their head, you just have to. You know what would help in that situation? A pullout or spring mixer. Before you had kids, you might have known this piece of kitchen tapware as a veggie spray. Now you know better.
There are dozens of options for pullout mixers to suit the look of your kitchen. You could go for the classic gooseneck style, a squared style, swivel option, or an industrial look with something like the Hudson Sink Mixer with Veggie Pull-Out by Raymor .
Pullout mixers are also handy for filling mop buckets and washing down the sink thoroughly – both things you have to do more of with children in the house.
Look for a mixer that automatically flicks back to the cold position when turned off, for an extra layer of child safety.
2) Lots Of Sink Space With Clever Accessories
Having children around means a whole lot of multi-tasking. A double bowl sink makes it easier to clean as you go. You can have dishes or veggies straining on one side while you wash little hands on the other. You could downsize to the 1 & 1/2 or 1 & 3/4 size if you want to save space.
But this does depend on your family’s needs. Some families prefer one sink that’s easier to fit large pots (and small children) in.
When you’re shopping for a kitchen sink, ask about accessories that come with it. For example, a drainer basket that fits in the bowl so you can free up bench space or drain sharp and fragile items out of sight from smaller humans.
Another clever accessory is an integrated pullout step at the sink, to help your children wash their hands – or even wash the dishes!
Finally, the farmhouse or butler’s style sink is another option that might be more comfortable for children to use. This style is set into the benchtop at the front, so there is no bench space between the sink and the user.
3) Time-Saving Taps
How many times has your tea gone cold while you tended to your child? Don’t wait for the kettle to boil again. Get a filter tap that provides instant boiling, cold or even sparkling water. Suddenly, everything will happen faster. You don’t have to wait as long to bring pots to boiling temperature. You don’t have to rummage through the fridge for a cold-water bottle. And, make snack time a little more interesting for the kids by giving them sparkling water flavoured with fruit.
4) Smart Appliance Choices
When choosing your kitchen appliances - like stoves, ovens, dishwashers and fridges - it goes without saying to ensure they have a good child-lock system. All new products will most likely have this.
For stoves, an induction cooktop is generally considered the safest option because the cooktop itself won’t get hot – the pots or pans do. It’s also hard to accidentally turn an induction stovetop on unless a pot or pan is left on it. Even then, most will have an auto-stop feature that turns the stove off if the pot gets unusually hot.
The Kleenmaid induction cooktop with in-built down draft rangehood is a fantastic example. It also has a pause/resume function, which comes in very handy if (when) you need to stop cooking for a minute to deal with a child. Its integrated exhaust is another kid-friendly advantage because it frees up storage space in your overhead cupboards where your traditional exhaust might have been. Plenty of high storage space is always important in a kid-friendly kitchen.
5) Easy-To-Clean Surfaces
When there are kids, there are spills and mess. You’d be wise to choose your benchtop, cabinet and floor finishes accordingly.
Quartz or engineered stone is said to be the easiest benchtop surface to clean and is also contemporary and stylish. Marble will stain, so is not a good choice for a kid-friendly kitchen. Some families find that stone benchtops get chipped over time, particularly around the sink where heavy pots and pans bump into it. One way to minimise this is with an overmount or topmount sink to protect the stone edges.
High-gloss laminate cabinets will be easiest to clean, especially if they have a flat surface, rather than a grooved surface that spills can seep into. Handleless cabinets are also quickest and easiest to clean, and might even be harder for small children to use, helping to keep your cupboard and draw contents out of reach.
6) Create Kids Zones
The last thing you want in the kitchen is to have the kids constantly under your feet. Design a layout or create some space in your kitchen that keeps them out of your way but also makes them feel welcome and involved.
For example, create a helping spot where they can safely stand or sit at the bench to watch or assist. Even give them their own kid-safe utensils. Put these and their own bowls, plates, cutlery etc in an easy-to-reach drawer or cupboard, just for them.
Clear out some low pantry space for your kids, too. That way they can help themselves to healthy snacks without having to nag you every time hunger strikes.
And, if we could add one more piece of advice…
Get soft-close cabinets and drawers. Please don’t wake the baby.
As you can see, you don’t have to create a whole new kitchen to make your kitchen kid friendly. Doing some simple upgrades should make a world of difference. If you’re building or renovating, have faith that your kid-friendly kitchen can still be a stylish and functional space for the whole family to enjoy.