According to several experts, more families are living and raising kids in a condo or apartment. While the specifics vary, common reasons relate to affordability, convenience and having more family time. Compared to a bigger house in the suburbs, condos are cheaper to rent or own, and are much easier to maintain. They are also more convenient since they are close to restaurants, work, culture, education, and many things the city can offer. And because condos are close to city establishments, there’s also the big incentive of time—less time for commuting and more time for the family.
Condo living for young families certainly has benefits, but it can still be challenging. For renters, the smaller space requires them to be creative in designing the place for their family’s needs. There’s also the issue of not having a permanent place to stay. As a parent, you constantly wonder about ways to raise your kids well in such a setup and reap the benefits. Save yourself the worry. Here’s a useful and creative renter guide to raise your kids in a condo.
1. Organize to Your Heart’s Content
Raising your kids in a condo for rent can certainly be challenging, unless you practice the art of organizing. There’s no way to avoid it—you and your kids need your personal stuff. However, things like toys, clothes, books, and knickknacks require organization or else suffer the consequences of a cluttered space. A simple yet effective measure is to provide your kids with containers they can use for organizing their own things. Having an easy-to-follow organizing system will make your kids’ environment—and yours, too—less stressful and clutter-free.
2. Manage Noise with Fun Games
Noise can sometimes easily pass through walls in condos. And when your kids are upset, screaming and crying can erupt. These are part of growing up. But the noise may easily make you lose your temper. You may find yourself suddenly shouting back to make your kids stop. According to psychologist Laura Markham, shouting at your kids during a stressful moment can affect their growth and erode parent-child relationship. Avoid this by mustering the patience and transforming the stressful situation into one of re-connection and enjoyment. Playing games like Simon Says or Dress Up are effective ways to help you and your kids release upset feelings in a more productive way.
3. Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Kids
Part and parcel of raising children in a small space are your neighbors. Minimize and resolve possible conflict between your household and your neighbor’s by befriending them. Introduce your kids to your neighbors to establish a bond and a sense of community. There’s no escaping you neighbor’s presence, sound, and possible complaints. But being friends with them will do wonders in raising your kids in a condo.
4. Watch Good Television Together
Condo living is conducive to having a close-knit family, but the compact space can be annoying for you and your kids. Work around this by transforming the space as a site of common yet fun family activities. Watching entertaining yet educational TV shows or films together is one practical example. It does not necessarily have to be cartoons. It can be a Hollywood movie or a TV series for grown ups which are also appropriate for your kids. Such activity is a convenient way to introduce to your kids to complex topics, from love to social issues, which they will encounter as they grow up. It can also be a good nightcap to make your kids sleep during bed time.
5. Be Generous with Praises
Raising your kids to help in household work is a sign of being a good parent. Household work especially in affordable condos for rent can build good character in your kids because of the required discipline, cooperation, and skill. But your job as a parent goes beyond simply telling your kids to do chores. According to scientific studies, you must train your kids while being generous with praising them. This means being encouraging and appreciative when your kids fall short of your expectations, say, when they’re unable to clean a specific area as thoroughly as you would. Praising your kids for their hard work can make them more confident when faced with harder challenges later in life. Praising them for their good and not-so-good work will encourage a growth mindset for their efforts.
6. Plan for Fun Weekends Outdoors
One of the condo features parents look for when renting is found on what’s outside, which are nearby establishments. As a parent, you appreciate and actually prefer when the condo is walking distance to parks, schools, libraries and other places where your kids can learn and play. Since most condos these days are located in city centers and are surrounded by interesting places, you have countless outdoor options for your children. It does not have to be fancy. You can be creative and practical—biking in the park or water gun-tag, for example, can make for fun weekend for kids.
7. Teach Your Kids to Give Back
A perk of having a smaller space is you’re not tempted to buy a bunch of things you don’t need. Your kids grow up knowing the importance of practicality and simple, quality living. However, your kids need to make room for new things like clothes since they grow up fast! Make room for new essentials and raise your kids to be giving by encouraging them to donate some of their usable stuff. It will instill a sense of empathy, a quality that is best to teach your kids early on.
8. Make Time for Kids to Play with Friends
With the building boom of condos for rent in Manila comes everything a family needs: grocery stores, green space, events, and shopping centers.There are many other conveniences in raising a family in a condo. There’s no yard work, for example, which is a plus for many. And how about if your building has a gym, pool, theater or other amenities? It can be way easier for your kids to make new friends in these spaces. And it’s like they’re on a permanent vacation! Allocate time for your kids to play with their friends. It can be through the daycare, or as in the case in DMCI Homes, through programs such as art, dance, and sporting classes.
9. Invest in Comfortable, Kid-Friendly Furniture
Make your space the best place for raising your kids by investing in good furniture. For example, it’s always a great idea to get a sofa that can be sectioned and can stand up to the wear and tear from your kids. If your kids are still toddlers, a safe furniture checklist includes having a dining table with a safety harness and high chairs that won't tip. It all depends on the age and needs of your kids. The idea is to invest in furniture to facilitate raising your kids in the most comfortable and safest way possible.
10. Make Studying Attractive
A compelling reason why parents choose to rent or own a condo is because their kids can get good education from nearby schools. Apart from designing your space with bookshelves and study tables, it’s a great idea to maintain order and encourage your kids to study with a reward system. For example, give reward stars for completed school work or educational activities. Go creative! Stop thinking that rewarding kids with money is the only way to go. The idea is to have a nurturing environment where you encourage your kids to try and figure out how to achieve goals.
Applying these tips to raise a family living in a condo is a good starting point for you to personalize a home system suited to the needs of your kids. Ultimately, raising your kids should be based on the values you think are important for them to learn. Raising your kids in a condo sure has challenges—the common one among renters or owners is the relatively smaller space. But think about your own childhood for a moment. What you may remember the most is not whether you had your own bedroom or having a huge living room space, but how loved you were and how it felt like home.