If you want your kids to learn to fend for themselves – and perhaps make you the odd meal too – you’re going to need to let them into the kitchen. The earlier you allow them access, the earlier they’ll be able to get involved in everything from preparing food to cooking, and even washing the pots. But, obviously, it’s important to keep them safe too. Here’s how to make your kitchen child friendly while ensuring it’s safe too.

1. Consider the Layout and Materials

The larger your kitchen is, the more room there will be for you and your child, but you can still take some of this advice on board with a small kitchen. It’s a good idea to have separate areas in your kitchen for separate tasks. So, you can have an area for cereal, an area for food prep, and an area for the actual cooking, for example. Keep child safe materials – such as plastic bowls and cups – within easy reach for them, and even consider having a separate drawer or cupboard for their items.

When it comes to the materials used in the kitchen, you’ll want those that are easy to clean and won’t stain. Wood isn’t the best choice in this regard. Instead, look at the quartz and soapstone countertops by World Stone Group. These materials are not only easy to clean, but they’re less porous, so a child won’t be able to damage them if they drop something that’s prone to staining.

2. Create an Easy to Access Pantry

Eating healthy is important for all ages, but one way to instill this mindset into your kids early is by creating an easy to access pantry that has an easy to reach space that’s filled with their favorite healthy snacks. Things like fruit cups, granola, bananas, apples and whole wheat baked goods are ideal. Not only will they be able to help themselves to snacks that release energy slowly, it will also stop them telling you that they’re constantly hungry.

3. Look into Child Sized Furniture

If you want your kitchen to be child friendly, it needs to be easy for them to access. Two-tiered kitchen islands are ideal here as they’re the right height for kids to sit around themselves without requiring your assistance. You can purchase learning towers, too, that keep your kids safe while enabling them to stand at the same height as the countertops. Step stools are a good alternative for older children.

4. Consider Child Friendly Appliances

While you may not want your children to be cooking on a hot stove at a young age, there are some appliances that are much more child friendly. These include a microwave, a toaster, and a rice cooker. Lots of children get their start in the kitchen by using one of these three appliances and they’re much less dangerous than the oven.

Kids love getting involved in adult activities, so why not give yours the opportunity to help you in the kitchen?