For those of us who grew up in suburbs and small towns, the prospect of bringing up our kids in downtown condos and apartments seems a little daunting. When you think of the garages and driveways, basements, and backyards of your youth it is hard to imagine having kids without this ample play and storage space. Also, the busy and bustling downtown streets seem out of step with cumbersome strollers and bumbling toddlers. However, more and more people these days are forgoing space for convenience and quality of life. Living in a smaller downtown unit might mean less space, but it also means less time commuting, and more time with your kids. That said there are a few challenges to overcome as an apartment parent, so here are a few things to keep in mind.
Managing Kids in a Small Space
Between diapers and high chairs, clothes and toys, strollers and tricycles, kids can take up a lot of room. If you’re living in a condo or an apartment you flat out don’t have the space for all of this stuff. However, this is an opportunity more than a crisis. Confined space forces you to make wiser purchases, and to avoid any hoarding tendencies you may be harbouring! By keeping only what your children need at any given moment—and this changes frequently as they develop—and by stowing what they do need with some smart storage solutions, you can embrace a more downsized style of parenting that frees you up to do things with your kids, without being overburdened by stuff.
Respect Your Neighbours
Your kids are wonderful; however, not everyone feels that way. The smaller, shared spaces that come with apartment and condo living puts an added urgency upon teaching your kids to be quiet and respectful of their neighbours and of their shared space. It might be a challenge at first to keep your kids from running and shouting in halls and elevators, or running wild in common areas, like lobbies, pools, and fitness rooms, but if you can show your kids the value of being respectful to those they live among, the whole building will smile on them, and they’ll learn some great lessons in community living at an early age.
Embrace Your Downtown Density
One big advantage to living downtown is the multiplicity of people and cultures you experience. It might seem like the high-density neighbourhood you are living in is better suited to twenty-somethings than to five year olds, but raising kids downtown opens their eyes to so many different ways of living, and truly broadens their horizons. High-density living ensures that music, arts, culture, and cuisine are all steps from your living space. This allows you and your family to think of the city as an extension of your apartment. Walk to the park on Saturdays, to the markets on Sundays, check out free weeknight events, and have your pick of restaurants and cafes.