Finding That Family-Friendly Home – What Should I Consider?
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to bubble-wrap your family to make sure they are safe and comfortable inside the house. Instead, you have to take the long-winded task of listing pros and cons for each possible property you view, assessing potentially dangerous features. Children under five are most at risk in the home, which is unsurprising considering their naivety and their down-right dangerous curiosity. Here are a few things to be looking out for when viewing new houses…
Safety in the Home.
- Keeping an eye on toddlers the entire time, until they have some semblance of danger, is essential to stop them hurting themselves. We suggest an open plan layout – you can keep a careful eye on the little ones who are pleasing themselves in the living room while you are chopping away in the kitchen. Hide-and-seek may never be the same again, but you can always teach them eye-spy.
- Stairs are a major homewrecker when you have young children or disabled relatives living in the house. During a viewing, consider how steep they are. For winding staircases, make a mental note of whether the turn is too tight for a wobbling child to manoeuvre. Play it safe and buy stair-gates for both the top and the bottom of the stairs.
- The garden should be as safe as the house. There are several things to think about when viewing the garden of a property. Is there a pond, and if so, should there be a fence around the perimeter to avoid accidental swimming lessons? Are there tall trees that might need low hanging branches to be removed? Has the garden got an outer fence to keep toddlers from waddling off the property? If not, invest in one.
- Even finer details make all the difference. Is the tiled floor too slippery? Are counter corners too sharp? Do power sockets need repairing or hiding? Should there be a guard for the open-fireplace? Make a list of anything you think is necessary for your family and tick them off during a viewing to make sure the house will indeed be a safe home.
Safety in the Location.
It’s not only the house which needs to be safe, the area you are moving to needs to be a good fit as well.
- Where is the nearest school and is it a safe walk? It would be better to walk to and from school where possible, as this will not only ensure your child exercises but it will also expel unwanted energy on the way home, avoiding havoc as soon as you walk through the door.
- No one likes it when the little ones get a cold or chest infection, so it’s important to make the healing process as quick and as simple as possible. Is there a doctor nearby? Is there a pharmacy there? Make sure you clock where your local surgery is before moving into a new home.
- How much traffic goes up and down your street? Will it be safe for your children to walk themselves to a friend’s house when they are a little older? Are there pedestrian crossings along every route you may be taking them on?
- It wouldn’t hurt to do a little research and discover what the crime rate is like in your new area. God forbid there should be a criminal in the opposite house, but it’s always better to make sure.
A family friendly home is not only about how safe you all are. You also need to be comfortable or your home life will soon become miserable.
- Size is an important factor for your home. Too little space and you’ll find yourself knee deep in stuffed animals, empty appliance boxes and trinkets from family days out. Before you make a decision on where to live, decide whether there is enough storage space for all your belongings.
- Personal space is essential within a home. If everyone starts getting under each other’s feet, tensions will rise, arguments will ignite and an unhappy atmosphere threatens. Where possible, give every member of your family their own bedroom – it will be somewhere private where they can sulk after a disagreement, do their homework or take a nap. Also, if you have younger children, consider a playroom – this will not only create the illusion of an adult-free zone, but it will also confine the clutter of toys to a specific part of the house. An extra bonus comes from the sense of responsibility children will feel; they will have to keep the place tidy and clean, providing house training essential for later in life.
- May we also suggest exploring the local area before moving to a new place. Knowing all the best places for entertainment and quality time is priceless. Where is the nearest cinema, or the closest shopping mall? Are there tasty restaurants with a kids’ menu? Is there a park or a football field within walking distance? Check every place out once you have marked the spot with an ‘X’ so that you know which place would be most suitable for your own family.
We hope we have given you some useful tips for finding the right family-friendly home. If you need help in finding this mystical, hidden treasure, please contact us and let us do the hard work for you.