Bringing up children in the family home conjures up sweet thoughts: bringing a new baby home from the hospital;
first family holidays; the pitter-patter of little feet down the hallway. Memories of these years will be with you forever, and are even better if you can find a home that adapts well to your growing family and growing kids. How do you choose a home that will see you through the baby years, the school years, high school graduation and beyond? Here are 6 things to consider as you choose your family home:
1) Room to Grow How many children are you planning on having? Of course, life is full of surprises, but buying a home that has a bedroom for every future kid (and enough room for sleepovers) will make you less likely to leave. Any chance you could be welcoming an aging relative into the home? Buying a bit bigger than you need today will give you more room to grow.
2) Safety Considerations: Small Children & Toddlers For those who haven’t yet had a toddler in the family, it’s important to understand what type of environment will be safest for them. No matter how much you keep your eyes on the little ones, they’re bound to get into trouble. The safer the home, the more your life with your little ones will be less stressful and more relaxed. A few things to watch out for: Busy Streets – When children are small, the dangers of a home on a busy street are obvious. A quick-moving, fearless toddler can easily sneak out the front door when your back is turned and wander (or run) into the street. Not to say a busy street is a deal-breaker, but it will give you more to worry about. Gated communities are often a great benefit to consider for this reason. Water Hazards – Pools are wonderful for kids – both for learning to swim and for the days and months they’ll spend playing in it once they are water safe. That said, a four-sided fence around a home pool is essential until a child is old enough to swim without adult supervision, and some experts say that isn’t until a child is at least 12. Children through the age of four can drown in as much as a few inches of water, so even water features must be closely monitored or fenced off. Look for a neighborhood pool that is properly fenced off or be prepared to put the proper safety modifications onto or around a pool in your home’s backyard.
3) Floorplans Open floorplans are hugely desirable to most homebuyers these days, but are all the more appreciated by parents of small children. The ability to be in the kitchen and see what the kids are up to without breaking your task is a huge benefit. Being able to view easily into the outdoor play spaces is also extremely helpful.
As your children grow bigger, they, and their friends, will want more space to be rambunctious and loud. A separate “kid zone” is appreciated by both parents and kids alike.
Tweens and teenagers naturally want more independence and privacy. While you’ll want to provide them quiet places for study, you’ll also enjoy a home layout that brings the family together for meals and socializing.
4) Neighbors and Playmates: Weaving a Community Choosing a neighborhood that’s family- friendly brings countless benefits. Having playmates nearby will provide your kids with days of entertainment, outdoor play, and friendship building. This isn’t only great for the kids – but for mom and dad. Like-minded neighbors lend each other a hand, too. Whether for carpools, emergencies, or much-needed kid-free sanity time, friendly neighbors help each other out and make life a little easier, and a lot more fun.
5) Good Schools If you haven’t even started a family yet, it’s hard to wrap your brain around the importance of being in a good school district, but in a few short years it will become extremely important. Make sure to look into the school district of any potential new home and determine if it’s a place you can see your children, or future children, flourishing.
6) Building Memories While there are a lot of practical considerations when choosing a home, there’s an undeniable emotional component that can’t be ignored. Stand in a potential new home and think about what your family will be like in a year, or 5, or 10. Imagine family barbecues, holidays, birthday parties, photos of kids on the front steps on the first day of school, your teenager walking down the staircase for senior prom. Your new home will house some of the most memorable years of your life, and should feel like a starting point for building something great.
Choosing a home to fit a growing family is an endeavor in which you consider all of the elements that really matter to you and your family. Once you evaluate and weigh just how important each of the six considerations are, determining the perfect home for you and your family will be that much easier. Tell us what you considered when choosing your home!