Kids and con­dos can go to­gether

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - HOMES - By Mar­i­lyn Wil­son

THE most fa­mous “condo kid” surely must be Eloise, who grew up on the “tippy-top floor” of the Plaza Ho­tel in Man­hat­tan. Tech­ni­cally, she lived in a ho­tel, but she oc­cu­pied the pent­house, so it counts.

Eloise may be a char­ac­ter in a chil­dren’s book, but that doesn’t mean that your dreams of rais­ing a fam­ily in a condo can’t come true.

Al­though Cana­di­ans might as­so­ciate condo liv­ing with young pro­fes­sion­als and down­siz­ers, peo­ple in big cities the world over raise their chil­dren in apart­ments, co-ops and con­do­mini­ums. The grow­ing trend — rais­ing chil­dren ef­fec­tively and safely in con­dos — is worth think­ing about. Choos­ing the condo The first thing to think about is lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion — the No. 1 rule in real es­tate.

Try to find a neigh­bour­hood where your chil­dren will be com­fort­able and have ac­cess to rel­e­vant perks of ur­ban liv­ing. For in­stance, you might want to forgo cer­tain sec­tions of a com­mu­nity where there are clubs and bars. Th­ese bring late-night noise, which can bother chil­dren wak­ing up early for school or soc­cer prac­tice. In­stead, choose build­ings close to parks, bike and run­ning paths.

Once you have cho­sen a lo­ca­tion, it’s im­por­tant to find a build­ing suit­able for chil­dren. When brows­ing, ask your agent what the de­mo­graphic of the build­ing is. Is it mostly re­tired cou­ples? Are there any fam­i­lies in the build­ing? While this is not a nec­es­sary pre­req­ui­site, it can make play dates or car­pools eas­ier.

Be­yond de­mo­graph­ics, think about the recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties and amen- ities the build­ing of­fers. If you have a baby or tod­dler you may want to en­sure the el­e­va­tors will be large enough to ac­com­mo­date your stroller. If your chil­dren are pre-ado­les­cent or teens, make sure there will be space for their hockey equip­ment or mu­si­cal in­stru­ments. This can be within your unit it­self or in the form of a stor­age locker. On the plus side, hav­ing chil­dren in a condo will en­sure you con­stantly de­clut­ter your space.

As far as recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties, it may be good to opt for build­ings with fit­ness ar­eas such as ten­nis courts or golf sim­u­la­tors. As out­door space is limited in a build­ing, recre­ational spa­ces can help keep your child ac­tive.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the ur­ban set­ting will fa­cil­i­tate ex­plo­ration. This can be es­pe­cially great for chil­dren who can­not yet drive but are old enough to ven­ture out on their own. In­stead of bug­ging you for rides around town, they can head to nearby mu­se­ums, movie theatres and li­braries. The walk will do them good.

Think safe — have a plan

When you move into a condo with a child, you must teach them safety rules that are some­what dif­fer­ent from those they en­coun­tered in your house. Your child should know not to let strangers into the main door of a se­cure build­ing. As for your own unit, tell them not to ad­mit strangers. An­other safety tac­tic be­yond stay­ing in touch with your child is to cre­ate emer­gency plans. Make sure he or she is well ac­quainted with emer­gency ex­its and dif­fer­ent emer­gency sce­nar­ios. Their space The most im­por­tant thing for a “condo kid” is to feel com­fort­able and at home. To en­sure this hap­pens, help your child cre­ate his or her own space.

Per­haps they like to read. If so, con­sider cre­at­ing a mini read­ing nook within the room. You can also have your son or daugh­ter pick out a favourite poster, then frame it to cre­ate a per­son­al­ized fin­ished space.

Al­though Cana­di­ans might as­so­ciate condo liv­ing with young pro­fes­sion­als and down­siz­ers, many peo­ple in big cities the world

over raise their chil­dren in apart­ments, co-ops and con­do­mini­ums.

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