Any parent will tell you that there are many stages to raising kids. And let’s face it, lots of those take place in the bathroom – potty training, brushing new teeth, 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. Bathrooms are prime territory for sibling fights. One accidental elbow jab can turn teeth-brushing into an all-out gladiatorial brawl.
One thing we know is that little ones don’t stay little, and few things outlast their growing years. You don’t want to have to redesign their bathroom with every growth spurt. Follow these steps to design a kid-friendly, and sibling-friendly, bathroom that grows with them.
Step 1: Scale Down The Bathroom Design
Give little ones a sense of ownership 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 they’re done with it (read: no more wet towels on the floor!). Hang mirrors and artwork at their eye level, too, so they don’t always have to use a step stool. Simply raise the height of items as kids grow so that they feel comfortable in their space. If your kids have a creative and artistic spirit, keep them engaged by getting a magnetic chalkboard and putting up photos of family members, and making schedules to help them share the space.
Step 2: Consider a Tub To Shower 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: Childproof Your Bathroom
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.
Of course, all siblings fight—that is inevitable—but remind them to be safe, especially when floors are slippery and emotions are running high!
Step 4: Bathroom Sharing Made Easy
Very often, siblings fight over bathroom space because there isn’t enough of it. If you can, add a larger vanity or install a second sink. This will help separate your kiddos 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, try an integrated slide-out step to give smaller kids a boost. Hanging a wider mirror prevents kids from crowding—useful on those days when one of them is already freaking out because that red dot on their chin is definitely a zit and picture day is tomorrow!
Step 5: Best Materials for Kids Bathrooms
Vanities that dent, stain, or scratch won’t look great in a few years, especially 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. Granite countertops are a durable and affordable option for your child. Porcelain is one of the most popular materials for toilets due to its non-porous nature. Stainless Steel is growing in popularity for bathroom sinks due to its high resistance to corrosion and impact. And when it comes to cleaning, why not get the kids involved? Keep a bathroom chore chart and lay out exactly what tasks need to be done and how often, giving your kids shared responsibility for keeping the bathroom tidy. Be sure to alternate the more unpleasant chores, or there will be fights over that, too. If one of your kids is noticeably messier than the others, develop an individual system in which everyone is responsible for their own bathroom messes.
Step 6: Smart Bathroom Appliances
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 easier. You could even install smart showerheads and lighting that can be programmed for each user. The one smart item you might want to keep out of the bathroom is the phone.
In a recent study, 69% of people admitted to using their phones in the bathroom. And nearly 75% of people said they spend longer in the bathroom because they’re using their phone. If your kids are fighting over how much time their siblings take in the bathroom, eliminating electronics could cut down on some of those arguments. When you spot your little angel heading in clutching a tablet, replace it with an encyclopedia: they’ll find much less reason to linger, and you’ll be saving the tablet from being dropped in the toilet.
Step 7: Bathroom Organization For Kids
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 it only multiplies as they grow: towels, bath toys, hair dryers, straighteners, scrunchies, bath toys, skin lotions, sprays, and did we mention bath toys? Help your kids share their space by providing plenty of bathroom storage options.
Consider recessed shelving, extra towel bars or hooks, and a shower caddy with clearly separated spaces for personal hygiene items (or bath toys). Assign each of your kids a color, and then color-code a drawer, bin or storage caddy for each child’s personal belongings. Go a step further by color coordinating their bath towels, toothbrushes, and towel hooks to make it easy for kiddos to identify what’s theirs.
Step 8: Keep the Bathroom Clean with a Chore Chart
And when it comes to cleaning, why not get the kids involved? Keep a bathroom chore chart and lay out exactly what tasks need to be done and how often, giving your kids shared responsibility for keeping the bathroom tidy. Be sure to alternate the more unpleasant chores, or there will be fights over that, too. If one of your kids is noticeably messier than the others, develop an individual system in which everyone is responsible for their own bathroom messes.
Some degree of sibling rivalry is inevitable, but there are plenty of ways parents can help keep it under control. Contact Re-Bath today for a free, in-home consultation to discuss how best to optimize your space—and may peace reign forever in your kids’ bathroom.