Most houses are built for adults, who are taller and more balanced, with the result that even in rooms intended for kids, little ones need help and supervision, which can overwhelm and frustrate parents and children alike.
We moved into our first house and started having babies in quick succession — but if I could go back and do it again, I would remodel our old property and make it more suited to little hands and feet. Here’s what I would do specifically in the kids’ bathroom to help them reach their goals:
This one should go without saying, but for all the non-parents out there, I’ll say it anyway: A kid’s bathroom needs a tub. Even though most people don’t have the time, energy or interest in taking baths these days, babies, toddlers and even young kids still bathe in a tub. Because they can’t stand — especially in a slipper surface — little ones need the safety of a tub. While you might be tempted to free up some space by installing only a standing shower, you will need a tub for your little ones.
Enough Sinks for Everyone
You constantly need to look ahead when you are designing anything for kids — not only do they change in size, but they’ll change their interests and personalities seemingly with the seasons. Thus, while babies and toddlers certainly won’t fight over sinks, older kids will, which means you need to build enough sinks into your kids’ bathrooms to keep the peace. You should have at least two sinks in your bathroom, three if you can fit it (and if you have enough kiddos to need three). This will reduce bathroom crowding and complaints about siblings.
A Hidden Stepstool
I’m tempted to advise lower countertops in kids’ bathrooms, but the truth is that children don’t stay small forever. Likely by the time they are out of elementary school, they’ll be able to comfortably reach the faucet and sink at a normal counter height. Still, you need some kind of solution for helping your younger ones reach the countertops — and I’m not a big advocate of a typical stepstool. Stepstools always get in the way, and especially in smaller bathrooms, they make a room look cluttered. Plus, stepstools can be unstable; one false step and the stool could tip, sending your toddler careening toward the floor or counter’s edge.
A better tactic is to hide the stepstool inside the cabinet below the counter and sink. Some bathroom vanities include a center drawer against the floor, which pulls out to reveal a sturdy surface. Little ones can pull out the step themselves, reach the sink and countertop and put the step away, leaving the bathroom looking tidy.
If you can’t afford a bathroom unit with a hidden stepstool, a typical stool is fine, and so is lowering the countertops. However, you shouldn’t allow your kids to climb on the counters. Doing this will encourage them to pull on the faucets, which causes damage to the plumbing. I had to call a Houston faucet repair service a few times for some repairs due to kids and their urges to climb.
A Hook for Every Towel
If there isn’t an obvious place for your kids to hang their towels and washcloths, you can be sure those linens will end up all over the bathroom floor. Often, a guest bath is equipped with one or two towel rods, but rods take up too much space and are often located far from the shower and tub. A better tool for busy, kid-filled bathrooms is towel hooks. You can fit four or five hooks into the same space of just a couple rods, and hooks tend to be easier for children to use — plus they have way more personality.
Plenty of Whimsy
The bathroom can be an intimidating place for toddlers and young kids, who misunderstand and dislike the responsibilities of personal hygiene. Thus, kids’ bathrooms should be fun and approachable, which means adding decorative touches that draw kids in. Some creative ideas include:
- Pops of color. A neutral white bathroom might suit your drab adult sensibilities, but by adding pops of bright color, like orange towels, a pink countertop or green plumbing fixtures, you’ll make the space more playful for kids.
- Wallpaper. Wallpaper is back in a big way, and because there is such a plethora of styles, you can surely find one that interests your kid.
- Murals. Not every homeowner is wild about the idea of wallpaper. No worries — you can always paint a mural on your walls. Clouds, ocean scenes and even fantastical characters like mermaids and superheroes are fitting.
- Neon lighting. Neon signs grab kids’ attention and can have inspirational messages or cute designs.
You need to think of the future when designing a bathroom for children — but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the present. If you can make the room fun and functional, you’ll find fantastic success.