Any adult who’s been at the whole parenting thing for a while will tell you that there are many stages to raising kids. From their first cry to their first date, there are a million little milestones. And let’s face it, many of those take place in the bathroom – potty training, brushing new teeth, the first bath, the first shower, fighting to get them to take a shower, and then fighting to get them out. Oh, and don’t forget the sibling rivalry over bathroom time.
One thing we know for sure is that little ones don’t stay little for long and few things outlast their growing years. You don’t want to have to redesign their bathroom with every growth spurt (can you imagine the cost during those middle school years?). So, base big design decisions on the future, and make smaller design decisions that can be updated easily down the road. Follow these steps to design a kid-friendly bathroom that grows with them.
Step 1: Change your perspective
You can give little ones a sense of ownership and control by designing a kids’ bathroom from their perspective. Hanging towel bars and hooks at their height enables them not only to reach their towel but to hang it up when their done with it (read: no more wet towels on the floor!). Hang mirrors and artwork at their eye level, too, to give them a sense of independence and avoid having to use a step stool for every task. Simply raise the height of each item as kids grow so that they always feel comfortable in their space.
Step 2: Consider a conversion
Bathtubs are a necessity for toddlers, but as they grow, they might prefer the quick convenience of a shower. If you’ve got kids at different ages, a tub/shower combo is likely your best bet. But if your youngest is approaching the teen years, consider a tub to shower conversion. And if you want them to be responsible for keeping their bathroom clean, opt for low-maintenance wall surrounds. Walk-in showers are a great option if you don’t want the hassle of shower curtains or shower doors that tend to collect mold and mildew.
Step 3: Safety at every age
Bathrooms are chock-full of safety hazards. From scalding water and slippery surfaces to dangling cords and cleaning products, there are a multitude of potential dangers for parents to worry about. When they’re little:
- Set the water temperature in your home no higher than 120 degrees.
- Incorporate non-slip surfaces
- If your kids use a step stool, be sure it’s non-tipping and has non-skid feet
- Corral bath toys in a caddy or mesh bag to keep them from becoming trip hazards.
- Install toilet locks and locks on cabinet doors and drawers to keep cleaning supplies, medicine and other chemicals out of reach.
As they approach their teen years, safety concerns change a bit. At this stage:
- Don’t allow mobile phones in the bathroom
- Teach kids the importance of keeping cords away from water
- Install a shelf or cabinet for storing hot curling/flat irons
Step 4: Double up
If you have more than one sink in your master bathroom, you likely understand the value in not having to fight over space with your partner while brushing your teeth. Giving your kiddos the same advantage can separate them just enough so that you don’t have to play referee. If you’ve got kids at different ages and stages, consider installing sinks at different heights so they can choose which to use. If you prefer a single vanity with dual sinks, consider an integrated slide-out step to give smaller kids a boost.
Step 5: Choose kid-proof materials
Vanities that dent, stain or scratch won’t look great in a few years with kids at the helm. Choose highly resilient materials and products that can withstand everything a kid can throw at it, from tantrums to teenage hair products. A subway tile backsplash or DuraBath shower wall surround can also help make the bathroom more durable and less susceptible to water damage.
Step 6: Smart is the new cool
We know that smart products can lower costs and save energy, but to kids, they’re just cool. Swap out traditional fixtures with smarter counterparts, such as hands-free faucets and self-cleaning toilets to keep their bathroom more sanitary and make clean-up quicker and easier. If you really want to up the cool factor, install smart showerheads and lighting that can be programmed for each user.
Step 7: Nix the sharing
We’re all for teaching kids to share, but in the bathroom, things like towels and toothbrushes don’t count. Kids have a lot of stuff, and that stuff only multiples as they grow. Assign each of your kids a color, and then color-code a drawer, bin or storage caddy for each child’s personal belongings. Take it a step further by color coordinating their bath towels, toothbrushes and towel hooks to make it easy for kiddos to identify what’s theirs.
Whether you’re trying to design a colorful bathroom that’s just right for your toddler or a modern space your teenager will love, Re-Bath’s team of professionals are ready to help. Schedule your free in-home design and estimate today.
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