How to keep a toddler out of the kitchen is challenging, but a necessary thing to do. The kitchen can be a dangerous place, as in it are many hazards. You have many sharp objects like knives. The oven can be dangerously hot to the touch. Refrigerators can contain many breakable objects like jars and containers.
Furthermore, when you are in the kitchen, you are likely cooking or doing some other related chore. This means that your attention is most likely divided. It is not a good idea to have one eye on the kitchen stove and another on your toddler.
Here are some ways to keep in mind if you are wondering how to keep a toddler out of the kitchen.
Put a Gate To Keep A Toddler Out of the Kitchen
One of the best ways to keep a toddler out of the kitchen is to use a gate or some kind of barrier. Many removable and semi-permanent gates in the market are meant to keep your young ones purposely out of certain areas, especially where it is not child friendly or childproof. Thru the years, our removable gate has served two generations already, keeping them safe from themselves.
You may also opt to have a wooden gate made with hinges if you foresee an area being off-limits for a considerable amount of time. This would also be a good option if you have more than one toddler. In contrast to this semi-permanent solution, I have also used temporary barriers in the past with good results. I once had two ottomans that were quite heavy, and when you lined them up together were more than enough to block an entranceway.
Not perfect, but it would do the job of keeping my toddler out.
Have a Schedule
If you are having trouble keeping a toddler out of the kitchen, this is one of the best options that will not require any physical barriers. A schedule will work if you can create a kitchen work time that is done when your toddler is asleep or preoccupied with something else. Go out of your way to do your kitchen chores when your toddler is getting its much-needed sleep and you will not have to be warding them out of the room.
This might take some creativity as far as scheduling is concerned. However, if you get into a routine that gives you the time to work unhampered in the kitchen when your toddler dozes off, this is a great option. One thing I would recommend you get in case you are alone at home with your child is a baby monitor. This way you can always check on your little ones even if you are cooking up a meal and your child is fast asleep in another room. Safety always comes first!
Keep the Toddler Preoccupied
One of the best ways to keep your toddler out of the kitchen is to keep them pre-occupied. There are so many inventive ways to do this. Toddler educational toys are flooding the market, and these items can keep them preoccupied long enough for you to get some kitchen work done. To be safe, get a designated area in the house where you can still see your kids, and make this the play area where they can tinker with educational toys.
Consider a Tablet
Not a pill, but a computer tablet. There are so many educational videos available today that are easily accessible online. Unlike before, this specially produced content is tailor-made to the developmental stages of your toddler. Choose those videos that are meant for the age of your toddler. You will at least be guaranteed 30 minutes to an hour that your little one will be entertained through these educational videos.
To be sure always watch a video with your child if it the first time you are allowing them to see something. Also, get to know video uploaders and their reputation for creating safe and child-friendly content.
Use a Playpen To Keep A Toddler Out of the Kitchen
Also, consider a playpen. Many extra-large playpens you can get are big enough for playtime that does not make your toddler feel like they are in an enclosed space. These usually have strong borders to safely keep them inside, as well as a soft play mat for a comfortable walking surface. Once you set-up this playpen with educational toys, your toddler could be preoccupied for hours. Just always make sure all the toys are child friendly, are not choking hazards, and that you have visual access to them all the time.
Solicit the Help of Other Family Members
Surely, there must be other members of the family that can help you out if kitchen duty calls for you. Ask your husband or wife to look after your toddler while you do kitchen chores. I hope that this will turn into a precious bonding time for them. If you have older kids ask them to help out too. It is never too early to teach your kids that nurturing a toddler is going to be inevitable.
Just make sure that you and other family members agree on the shared time they will pitch in on taking care of your toddler. This way you avoid any misunderstanding or being overbearing towards any member of the family.
Hire a Nanny
If you or all other family members are not available, then you would be best served to get a nanny. This way you are really able to free time for yourself as you tackle other household tasks, especially kitchen work. A nanny would be excellent as they can interact with your toddler as they keep them distracted from your absence.
When selecting a nanny always be thorough about their background, and ideally get a referral from someone you trust. It is also best that even though you hire a nanny, you are still around the house just in case any unexpected situation crops up that will need parental intervention.
Cook Once Or Twice a Week
Chances are, keeping a toddler out of the kitchen becomes a concern because you are in it. If you are in the kitchen, it is also likely because you are cooking a meal. One way to minimize or avoid this situation from recurring is by planning how you cook. Many homemakers do bulk cooking, which is to cook enough food that can last for a few days. Most of this food is in the fridge and reheating by anyone that needs a meal is easy.
To make this strategy effective, it is very helpful to have containers where you separate meal portions for individual consumption. Microwavable containers are also excellent so you just pop a container in the microwave, and you have a piping hot meal in no time. Anticipate the eating habits and consumption of the entire family and attempt to prepare food once or twice a week. That would make it much easier to manage to keep a toddler out of the kitchen than dealing with it every day.
Hire a Cook
Obviously, this would absolve you of having to do any cooking. A cook would allow you to spend more time keeping up with your toddler. The downside to this is the additional expense that you will need to pay a cook’s wages.
Buy Take Out
Although not the most practical and cost-effective way, buying takeout food is always an option at your disposal. Perhaps you could use this strategy once in a while just to break the monotony of any house routine.
Many enterprising people offer pre-cooked meals and deliver them to your home. The folks that engage in this little side business have clients like you in mind. They know that you still prefer a home-style cooked meal, cannot afford restaurant take out prices, and are just short on time to prepare the meals yourself. Ask around about these innovative individuals.
If All Else Fails, How to Keep the Kitchen Toddler Safe
For most toddlers, the kitchen perhaps looks like a playground. Mommy or Daddy is very busy moving around, working with colorful items from cupboards, cabinets, the fridge, or the oven. The air wafts of good food. A toddler’s curiosity is definitely aroused, and the poor little child is extremely excited, not realizing how hazardous a kitchen can be.
The mix of all this activity, your toddler’s nosiness, and your divided attention mean that it is vital to minimize the dangers and risks in the kitchen. Here is a brief checklist you can go through to do so.
General Safety In the Kitchen
- Be certain that ovens, stoves, and burners are working as they should. If your power source is gas or fuel, habitually inspect for leaks.
- Always favor the use of back or rear placed burners whenever possible. A very common but avoidable accident happens when a toddler reaches up for a pan or pot handle. This could end up with the hot or scalding contents spilling all over the child. If you must use the front burners when a toddler is around, turn all pan or pot handles to face the opposite side so they are not reachable by a toddler.
- Refrigerator and freezers should employ the use of a childproof door latch, a buckle type belt, or Velcro tabs to make sure the door is not easily opened.
- Take off all refrigerator magnets, as this can be choking hazards. These magnets are usually attractive and attention-grabbing and are particularly enticing to little ones.
- Tell children not to use their tongues to touch ice or ice-cold surfaces. Seeing your child’s tongue stuck to an ice surface is not a pretty sight
- Inspect and identify sharp corners and edges where a toddler could slam into. Place protective rubber or corner guards.
- Secure all handles and knobs that are within reach. Employ the use of safety latches on all drawers and cabinets that have contents that are risks to toddlers.
- Use protective covers on all electrical outlets within the toddler’s reach.
- Maintain a skid-proof floor surface. To address this use nonskid rugs strategically placed. Also always be sure to clean up spills right away.
- Make sure to place spices out of your toddler’s reach.
- Use a child-proof garbage bin or better yet keep your trashcan in a locked area.
- Get rid of plastic bags by tying each in a knot before disposing of them. Toddlers love to play with plastic bags in the wrong way (putting it over their heads, a suffocating danger). Likewise store plastic wrap dispensers, aluminum foil, and waxed paper, as the jagged cutting edges on their boxes can cut.
- Make sure that all alcoholic drinks are out of reach.
General Safety in the Dining Area
- Whether you have a kitchen/dining area or a separate dining room, observe the following safety rules for your child’s benefit.
- Fix damaged or flimsy chairs. If you cannot, get rid of them for any inadvertent accident.
- Return chairs back in the flush position against a table after using them. Allowing them to stick out from a table is inviting a toddler to climb on them.
- Avoid tables with center pedestal designs as these can topple over. Tables with center pedestals instead of four corner legs are more likely to topple over if a toddler leans on a side or attempt to climb it. Tell your little one not to climb a table’s edge.
- Keep all breakable items like glassware, china, and glassware safely behind closed doors.
- Avoid using a tablecloth for now on the dining table. Trust me when I say toddlers will pull it thinking it is fun to do.
- As for tabletops that are not permanently attached to their legs, secure them properly.
- Folding or collapsible tables and chairs are especially dangerous to toddlers. Secure them so they are safe around toddlers. Better yet, keep folding chairs and tables when not in use.
- Inspect all furniture for splintered wood, staples, protruding nails, sharp bolts, and sharp edges (especially on glass). Take the effort to look under all your tables, chairs, and counters.
In Conclusion for How to Keep Toddlers Out of the Kitchen
Keeping toddlers out of the kitchen is the safest way to avoid any untoward incidents. Try to see which tip mentioned in this post can apply to you. Besides, do not worry. This is just a passing phase in your family’s growth, and all the precautions are for the most part temporary.