Regardless if you’re pregnant, currently with kids or plan to have your grandchildren over frequently, child-proofing your kitchen is necessary. The kitchen is rife with items that capture children’s attention, yet can potentially cause harm to them. Some examples include hard surfaces, sharp corners, sharp objects and flammable materials. To promote a safe and child-friendly kitchen, read on for some tips!
1. Install safety gates
Installing safety gates at the kitchen entrance is the first step to keeping children safe. The purpose isn’t to keep them out of the kitchen entirely, but to prevent them from coming in whenever you’re too busy to keep an eye on them. Safety gates come in different materials and heights. To select the ideal one, consider what you intend to use the gate for, as well as its durability.
2. Have a cupboard designated for kids
Are there any items your kids often use, or snacks they love to nibble on - but can’t reach? Rather than keep them out of reach, place them somewhere lower so they can get their items and whip up a simple meal without assistance.
Consider storing dry ingredients in clearly-labelled airtight containers, which you can get from plastic container suppliers. While you’re at it, stock up with child-friendly cooking tools. This is a great way for them to learn how to fend for themselves and in turn, pick up afterwards. By doing so, you’re also grooming them to be independent and in future, more helpful in the kitchen!
3. Encourage them to cook
Cooking is a necessary life skill, and it can start from young! By having a kid-friendly cupboard, you’re slowly introducing your kids to the ways of the kitchen. In fact, there are many recipes available for children to try their hand in, such as making homemade ice-cream without a machine. The kitchen can be a refreshing avenue for them to learn valuable life lessons from baking and cooking!
And of course, you’ll always have the option of storing leftovers in plastic containers, which is more convenient for you to heat it up and indulge in it the following day. Or if you want to boost their self-esteem further, pack some of their cooked meals in take out lunch boxes to share with your relatives and neighbours.
4. Include step stools in the kitchen
With the ideal step stool, the little ones can reach the sink, shelves and kitchen countertops. It’s an excellent way to encourage your kids to help out in the kitchen, be it if they want to wash the dishes or help you prepare for a meal. As your children spend more time in the kitchen, it can do wonders in enhancing their self-confidence and kitchen skills.
5. Add table corner protectors
Though table corner protectors are small, they make a world of difference in ensuring that your kitchen is safe for children. Sharp, harsh edges of kitchen tops, tables and others can cause unpleasant injuries to your kids. With a corner protector, these sharp edges can become harmless and prevent your children from getting hurt.
6. Establish ground rules in the kitchen
Depending on your children's age, there are specific tasks that they can and cannot do without adult supervision. Before letting them into the kitchen, be sure to establish this set of rules with them. For example, they aren’t allowed to run around the kitchen, or they must always ensure that their hands are clean before cooking something. This way, you’re forming boundaries for them without restricting too much of their freedom in the kitchen!
Some parents can be pretty hesitant when it comes to encouraging their kids to abandon the cartoon they’re watching, in favour of stirring the pot or cubing the vegetables. You might think that kids should help by not helping, especially when they end up spilling food on the table - which can be somewhat counterproductive.
However, letting them experience these mistakes is what helps them grow and perhaps, avoid making them in future. With the tips above, we hope it’ll foster your kitchen into a fun and safe space for your children to learn and grow. As they become more involved in the kitchen, you can look forward to reeling in the benefits of cooking in a child-friendly kitchen while spending quality time together!