Babyproofing is no joke! With my son, we didn't bother babyproofing until he was crawling. Once he was mobile, all bets were off! Now my oldest is a toddler whose favorite phrase is currently, "Let me do it." I'm extremely proud of his independent spirit but I recognize that he still needs the adults in his life to help keep him safe. Our home has gone from zero baby-proofing to being fully decked out with baby and toddler safety measures. Most importantly, I've set up our kitchen to be not just safe for our kids, but as accessible as it can be. Maybe there's a part of me that's hoping one of the kids takes up cooking and becomes a famous chef. Maybe I'm just hoping they'll learn how to do the dishes. Regardless, I've spent a good chunk of time figuring out how to make a kitchen kid-friendly.
Sheps' grandfather built him an amazing learning tower that lives in our kitchen. A learning tower is a set of steps with a gated platform at the top. The goal is to provide a way for your toddler to see what's going on on your countertops and to be safely contained so they don't fall off the top. Of course, being counter-height means little hands can reach what's on the counter. Depending on your little one's age, they can participate in your family's cooking and baking.
Pot And Pan Handles Point Center
I've been a stickler for this since I was a little kid. All the handles of pots and pans on a stovetop should be moved to the center when kids are around. This habit is easier to form before your kid can reach up and pull a pot of boiling water onto their skin. Yikes! Kid-friendly kitchens are safe!
Even if your kitchen cabinets don't contain any hazardous material (like cleaning chemicals), you're going to want to lock them up. I know, it's annoying. But you'll get used to it soon enough. Curious toddlers are bound and determined to explore every nook and cranny, but kitchen cabinets aren't a safe place for unsupervised kiddos. Save yourself the hassle of picking up all your pots and pans every day; lock up your cabinets.
Locking Trash Can
A must for any family with dogs or toddlers. I'm not sure what it is - maybe it's because she sees me using it frequently throughout the day - but my daughter is obsessed with our trash can. The thought of her touching it and then putting her hands in her mouth makes me want to gag, so I do my best to keep her away from it. It's good to know she can't open it even if she reaches the top. A locking trash can will keep both smells and little hands at bay!
Mini utensils are not just great for small jobs in the kitchen; they're great for small people! Tiny spatulas and diminutive whisks are perfect for play in a toy kitchen, too. Some kids gravitate toward cooking and learn to use their own serveware with real food. Give them the right tools and watch them go!
Pantry With Toddler-Friendly Treats
This is one of my all-time favorite kid-friendly kitchen hacks. While safety is important, this tactic is purely focused on making the kitchen accessible to toddlers. As kids get older, they can handle more personal responsibility and independence. Part of that might include fetching their own plates and cups or organizing their snacks. I designated the bottom two drawers in one of my cabinets to my son's tableware and food. He can feel involved in the kitchen without needing to have an adult at all times.
Keeping kids out of the kitchen is impossible. Instead of trying to block them with baby gates, why don't we try to make it a safer and friendlier place for them to be? A kid-friendly kitchen requires a balance of safety and accessibility. How can your kitchen be more kid-friendly?