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12 easy ways to make your home more kid-friendly

Seriously—why didn’t we think of these before?

12 easy ways to make your home more kid-friendly

Coat hooks


Children love coat hooks, and are especially good at hanging up their coats when the hooks are mounted at a height they can reach. When creating a space for coats, don’t forget about creating a space for their backpacks and boots too.

Fixed-cushion sofas

Kids love pulling cushions off the sofa. One of the best things that I can recommend so that your formal living spaces look orderly, even with little ones jumping on your furniture, is to buy sofas with fixed cushions. There won’t be any fort building with this sofa.

Rounded furniture

Even if you live in a house with lots of space, your child will find a corner to bump into. Try to mitigate the damage to your children’s heads, sides and legs by choosing furniture that is rounded, with no sharp corners. There are so many great-looking pieces today that will let you live worry-free for a long time.

Kids’ counters

If you want to keep your children from taking over your space, it’s best if you can create a space of their own, close to yours. Children do like to remain close to their parents for a considerable amount of time, so giving them a work and play counter where they can paint and build would be ideal. Try to use a material that is very durable, like quartz, as a countertop, as it will get a lot of use and abuse.

Semigloss paint

Having a chalkboard for kids is really great, but you don’t need to create one with chalkboard paint. I like to use semigloss paint when painting kids’ areas. You can choose any color, and it washes up beautifully. Marker, crayon and chalk all wash off easily when a semigloss paint is used. Don’t be afraid to use semigloss on all of your kids’ walls.

Carpet tiles

We all know that children and carpet don’t go well together. But if you really want carpet, you should consider using carpet tiles instead of broadloom. If something spills on a carpet tile, it’s easy to lift up the 18-by-18-inch square and bring it to the dry cleaner for a proper cleaning. If the stain doesn’t come out, then you need to replace only that one little square.

Vinyl flooring

If you’re renovating your home, and you don’t want to see your new hardwood flooring get destroyed by furniture being dragged across it, you may want to consider a good-quality vinyl floor. Vinyl floors are virtually impossible to destroy and look incredibly realistic these days. They’re almost guaranteed to last through the better part of your child’s stay at your house without your having to replace them.

Area rugs

Generally speaking, I would recommend not using carpet under the dining table if you have children. But if you really want a rug under your table, then use carpet tiles to create an area rug.

Closed storage

You can never have enough storage when you have children, but the best way to keep toys and stuff from taking over is to create ample closed storage. Make sure you have a mix of drawer and door storage to accommodate all the different types of toys.

Nothing too precious

At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re not putting plastic on the furniture. It’s important that you choose durable finishes that are easy to clean and furniture that can be used daily without worrying about spills and stains.

Original story by Gillian Lazanik for Houzz

More from Houzz:

Shop for Sofas With Fixed Cushions

Install Vinyl Flooring

Kitchen Countertops 101: Choosing a Surface Material

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Tiled walls

If you live with children, it’s best to go with tiles for your bathroom walls. For some mysterious reason, toothpaste gets everywhere when kids brush their teeth. Not to mention, they’re not always so great at locating the toilet in the middle of the night either.

Incorporate these elements to create a stylish and worry-free environment for you and your family

A child’s laughter can permeate a home and warm the coldest of hearts. Kids can also create lots of messes, from the living room to the bathroom and everywhere in between. Here are 12 features that can help you create a kid-friendly home that’s clean, organized, safe — and fun for all.

Floating vanities

Not everyone loves the look of a floating vanity, but they really do make sense for many years when your children need to use a stool to reach the faucets. It’s so great to be able to tuck those stools under the vanity and get them out of the way so no one stubs a toe.

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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