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How to create a functional, practical kitchen for your family

Kitchen fun made simple

Function and practicality are two essentials when it comes to raising a family, and streamlining your routine and home can help things run smoothly day to day. Whether your husband wants to cook or your kids are running amok around the kitchen island, maintaining a practical kitchen can help relieve the little stressors that come up throughout a typical day at home. Here are a few ways to create a functional, practical kitchen for everyone in the family.

Kitchen water cooler

1Baby-proof cabinets and dangerous appliances

Not everyone in your family is allowed free reign of the kitchen. Making sure the little ones in your life are safe and sound is key to running an efficient kitchen. Start by placing plastic barriers on all cabinets and padding sharp corners. Cover stovetops and other dangerous appliances with protective metal barriers that make sure little hands don't get burnt.

2Replace your old fridge with a bottom-freezer refrigerator

It seems like kids always want things out of the freezer. During busy days, avoid having to go to the kitchen and get things for them by using a bottom-freezer refrigerator. In those hot summer months, kids can grab popsicles and cold treats with ease.

3Set aside "mommy's kitchen time"

It's difficult to get things done in the kitchen with a handful of other people running around, grabbing and misplacing ingredients that were meant to go into that casserole. In the evening, or whenever you'd like to cook, make sure your kids and significant other stay out of the kitchen. Let them know it's your space, if only for an hour or two.

4Kid-friendly items on the bottom

Whether it's the pantry or the refrigerator, placing the food you want your kids to eat on the bottom shelf will allow them to make healthier choices and avoid owwies as they try to reach food on the tippy top. If you have any alcohol in the home, this is another great way to keep adult drinks out of reach.

5Get a water dispenser

Faucet attachment and fridge water dispensers are a fun, practical way for everyone in the family to drink more water. Not only do they purify choices, but they're easily accessible and in sight, making them an attractive option over juice, soda and other sugary drinks that can pack on the calories.

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