How do you make a child friendly home? Certainly the whole idea of a home versus a house is that its occupants feel like they really belong, and that their surrounds are as much a part of them as they are a part of their surrounds! So when it comes to family homes, there are actually plenty of design features you can consider to make things as child friendly as possible. We’ve started looking at just a few…
1. Safety first
Especially for those really young tackers, safety should be paramount in a family home. Ideas here could include things such as covers for power outlets, making sure potentially dangerous household equipment is stored out of reach, and considering furniture and home designs that ‘buffer’ what might otherwise be hard edges and sharp finishes. There are also actual legal requirements you must consider, such as ensuring the family pool is surrounded by secure, approved fencing and a child-proof gate.
If you have little monkeys then it’s also a good idea to consider things like child-proof window locks, and catches on drawers that might store toxic goods, such as cleaning products, or medicine for other family members. Water temperature controllers are great on taps, too, especially those that are well within reach of little fingers, such as bath taps.
2. Looking at life from a little person’s perspective
Can you remember when you yourself were a tiny tot and you couldn’t wait for your feet to reach the ground when you sat at the kitchen chair? Things haven’t changed – all little people look forward to becoming big one day. To make that transition less frustrating, literally lower things in your home.
For example, consider a bathroom mirror that can be useful to all members of the family – those whose heads haven’t yet made it over the sink bench top as well as those who have! Give them storage vessels that encourage them to store and manage things themselves – if they can’t reach something it’s a mighty fine excuse to look to start climbing up to get their hands on it.
3. Hard wear
Let’s face it – tiny tots don’t always see the need to take care. Bringing mud and grime in from the garden, running smeared hands all over the walls, creating art where art was never really intended, having little toilet accidents away from the toilet… All these are a part of life in a family home, and you can make your house more child friendly by selecting fabrics and materials that are durable and ready for some wear and tear.
Consider also your colour scheme – white carpet might have always been on your list of top-looks-for-my-dream home, but that may just have to wait until the kids have gone to uni. Darker colour schemes can be easier to clean – or should we say that it’s easier not see the cleaning to be done?
4. Kids only
Any parent who has watched their kids take control of the lounge room and create a temporary cubby house understands the need for little people to design, create, invent and conquer. Giving them their own space (a rumpus room for example), to do just that is a win for everyone – it keeps all that creative flair contained to the one room.
Don’t just consider indoors, either – the outside can be a great place to get the most out of a child friendly home. If you’re renovating at the moment then consider creating a little outside cubby house for the kids.
Just remember there are sometimes permits involved for such a space…!
Although these kids-only spots are really wonderful, it is of course important to also encourage shared living spaces that easily and deliberately bring together the whole family.
5. The bigger picture
A well designed child friendly home will cater for now, as well as down the track when the kids grow up. A family’s needs change as the children get older. Homes that can adapt to this can save a lot of headaches. For instance, a home that needs to encourage quiet surrounds for the first newborn is going to have very different expectations placed on it ten years down the track when there are two more in tow, and the kids have started having friends over, they’ve joined sporting or musical groups and they need to practice at home, they have homework, etc. Things have gone from a quiet little family to a full theatre production! Actually probably the one main idea we’ve neglected is a grown-ups only space – every child friendly home deserves just one spot that’s out of bounds for tiny tots.
This idea is however, probably just us wishful thinking, isn’t it?