Tips for Living in an Apartment with Young Children

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Today’s post is contributed by fellow blogger, Jennifer Riner from Zillow.  She offers us some great tips I really appreciate as a renting, urban parent of young children!  

renting in the cityIn the past, quaint, quiet neighborhoods were the archetypal settings for growing families.  Cities house many young professionals, most of whom don’t have families of their own quite yet. These days, however, more parents are choosing metro regions to raise their kids. Many families also opt to rent versus buy, often for financial reasons or the conveniences of living in urban settings. Regardless of motives, living in high rises with kids can be challenging. Between noise complaints and lack of private outdoor spaces, apartments lack the communal feel that suburban neighborhoods emanate.

To combat traditional apartment shortcomings, lease-holding parents should keep the following tips in mind.

Set Boundaries

Kids need to practice increased caution when living in multi-family properties. While they may feel comfortable running around common areas without parental supervision, neighbors are still strangers and should be treated as such. Make sure young children know it’s unsafe to enter apartment facilities without accompanying adults.

Attend Communal Events

Finding nearby playdates in apartment complexes can be difficult for recent transplants. Use neighborhood events, such as movies in the park, local parades and block parties as opportunities to mingle with fellow parents. Finding other children around the same age is not only beneficial for socialization, but making friends with local parents can pay off as last-minute babysitting resources.

Find Local Parks

Kids need outdoor playtime, and promoting sufficient exercise without backyard space is difficult. Visit local parks at least a few times a week so kids aren’t forced inside on the weekends. The fresh air and workouts are ideal and parks are perfect for meeting new friends, which is especially beneficial for renters looking to get acclimated to new neighborhoods.

Establish Quiet Hours

One of the biggest drawbacks of living in apartment complexes is the noise. While unavoidable, it can be kept down to a minimum, especially to prevent neighbors’ complaints and potential penalties. Establish quiet hours for the kids, even on weekends. Purchase quality headphones so pre-teens aren’t tempted to blast their music through loud speakers. Finally, make rules for kids to be quiet when walking down hallways and travelling in elevators.

Socialize with the Neighbors

Stay connected with fellow residents to prevent complaints about inevitable kid drama. Parents with newborns should alert their neighbors, or send gift baskets with ear plugs and preemptive apologies. These small gestures show respect and concern for the well-being of surrounding tenants, and they are less likely to become irritated when kids aren’t on their best behavior. At the same time, this isn’t an excuse for rudeness – make sure to always teach and encourage respectful conduct, no matter how forgiving the neighbors are about noise.

Keep the aforementioned tips in mind when searching for rental properties with young children. Renters should shop for properties where they’ll have the most luck, as these tips are only a portion of the rental success equation. For instance, make sure potential apartments have parks within walking distance to better the chances of actually getting that quality fresh air time.

10 thoughts on “Tips for Living in an Apartment with Young Children

  1. Suburban Finance

    I never lived in an apartment when I was younger, but I think one of the most important things to have nearby when you have children is a local park. I personally liked to play outdoor when I was a kid, and I think it’s a prime time for them to explore, so it’s really nice to have one close by.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      The park is our best friend! Despite outdated stereotypes, present-day Pittsburgh is a lush and green city with so many outdoor spaces and so much nature to explore. We feel pretty lucky in that regard to city living!

  2. Monica

    As a city dweller I can really relate to this post! Although I sometimes long for a yard of our own – our park experiences are incredible and there is always great fun to be hand at playgrounds.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      I know what you mean! A fenced in yard would be so, so amazing. But at least we have those playgrounds!

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      This is so true! You can only run up and down the hallway so many times. (Before ticking off the neighbors.)

  3. Mel

    I can’t imagine living in the city with kids. I feel so bad for moms trying to juggle their groceries, a kid and a stroller on the subway.

    I was watching a house hunters episode recently of a couple looking for a home in the city and expecting a baby. They found a really cute apartment, but the steps up to the bedroom/loft area were like a vertical, carpeted ladder. All I could think when I saw it was “you’re going to die and you’re going to take the baby with you.” I can see why the suburbs are so popular for families.

  4. Pingback: Condo Cheat Sheet for the City Woman | Femme Frugality

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