Fall is here and as we welcome October, it’s time to get back to basics at home––nesting, eating comfort food, and spending time together is definitely on the agenda. It’s also National Eat Better, Eat Together Month, which encourages families to take stock of what they are eating, and find more ways to eat those healthy meals together. So what’s at the center of all this? The kitchen! So if family time and having the space to eat, interact, and enjoy life together in the heart of the home are top of mind for you, read on for a few ways the right kitchen design can create a space the whole family can enjoy.
Why Eating Together is Important
Before we start with kitchen designs, it’s important to understand why eating together makes a difference. Studies show people of all ages eat better when they share a meal with others. The reality is today’s busy lifestyle can make eating as a family a challenge, but the benefits are worth the effort it takes. Believe it or not, there are nutrition, health, social, and mental benefits of eating with others. Those include:
- Eating together provides a time to be connected. This helps children feel loved, safe and secure.
- Focus on enjoying each other’s company, not on what or how much each child is eating.
- Use meal times to teach children about family values and traditions.
- Keep mealtime conversations positive. Encourage children to talk about their day. This helps to develop more communication between family members.
- Eating together is more likely to happen when everyone helps. Involve kids of all ages in planning, shopping for and preparing meals. These are important life skills that can help us eat well.
- Other benefits for kids and teens include: healthier eating into adulthood, healthier body weight, lower risk of disordered eating, less use of cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol
So understanding the benefits is one thing, but how do you actually make eating together as a family happen? You may not realize it, but the layout of your kitchen can make a big impact. Not only does a kitchen remodel offer a good return on investment in your home, it also can increase your quality of life. Here are a few of our favorite family-friendly kitchen design ideas to incorporate into your kitchen remodel.
Design Idea #1: The Open Floor Plan
Trust us, the kitchen is going to be the place everyone hangs out for years to come, so if you are considering a kitchen remodel, talk to your professional about an open floor plan concept. Merging the kitchen with adjoining rooms lets you interact with everyone even while cooking or cleaning up. Plus as a big 2020 kitchen design trend, many home buyers will look for an open kitchen that faces a family room or great-room. If you are getting ready for a remodel, consider making more space by bumping out a wall to make space for a larger kitchen island (or even a double island concept!), and a large eating area. Adding a fireplace and a small seating area for conversation is also a great way to create a room within a room. Some other tips for an open floor plan? Put the sink or stove top on the island so you can talk to people while working. Make sure your island is big enough for four bar stools, making it an ideal place for quick meals together or homework, and have your professional design with the work flow of the room in mind.
Design Idea #2: In the Zone
You’ve always heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” but the reality is it’s also the most hectic and stressful. When considering your remodel, take a serious look at how you and your family start your day. Getting everyone out of the house on time gets easier when breakfast staples are stored in one location. Create a family-friendly breakfast zone by designating cabinets and drawers for cereal, bread, bagels, and toaster pastries; adding shelves for plates, bowls, and coffee mugs; installing refrigerator drawers or an undercounter refrigerator for milk and juice; and including a coffee system and toaster. And remember: Anytime you can save time, steps, or energy because you grouped appliances, fixtures, and storage to streamline a task, that’s family-friendly, and more time to spend together.
Design Idea #3: Make it Smart & Comfortable
While you may not want to allow electronics at the dinner table, the fact of the matter is electronics are a crucial component to everyday life. Creating a central place for charging or storage in the kitchen, in addition to adding other smart kitchen elements will save you time each day, making more time for family. And while you are planning your kitchen remodel, think about comfort in your design. The more comfortable the breakfast nook or the kitchen island is for example, the longer everyone will stay and interact. Who knows, those electronics hidden away in the kitchen cabinet charging stations might even be forgotten!