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What Kids Want in a House

Aug 11, 2008
What do kids want in a house? Surprise! It's not granite countertops or hardwood flooring, it's not even their own bedrooms or a den. From a child's point of view, a house can only be as good as the relationships it fosters. When parents go out of their way to make sure the new family home meets their kids' social needs, great things can happen.

Fortunately, meeting your child's social needs doesn't mean you have to take a giant step back in time to the days of ten child families. It also doesn't mean you have to constantly entertain or clean up after guests. If you plan it right, your kid friendly house will make your life easier. All you need is other kids in the neighborhood, a safe local gathering spot, age appropriate activities in or around your home and food (don't forget the food.) So, if you're a home buyer with children, here's what to look for to land a kid-friendly house:

1. Buy a house within walking distance to your child's future school. This one point is at the top of the list for a number of very good reasons, the main one being that it practically guarantees your child a wide array of educated house guests to choose from that are also within walking distance of your home.

2. A paved driveway. A driveway is so much more than a place to park your car. From a kid's point of view, it's a smooth hard surface perfect for playing 21, riding a trike, drawing chalk outlines and playing hockey with friends.

3. Cul-de-sac. The only thing better than a paved driveway is a collection of driveways arranged in a semi-circle. The cul-de-sac is the new village square and if your children are young, the value of buying a home on a street like this is immeasurable. Practically devoid of traffic, these places are perfect locations for impromptu neighborhood sports games, tag, double dutch, bike riding, trike riding, wagon-pulling and what have you. All right outside your door.

4. Look for a house with backyard potential. A boring backyard can be transformed into a neighborhood hotspot that you can easily supervise. Make it an interesting and fun place to be because if you build it, they will come. Got-to-have items for this space will depend on the age and interests of your child. Some of the classics:
  • trampolines: always a hit.
  • Sandboxes: little kids love a sandbox that's big enough to share. try a raised sandbox if you don't have much space.
  • Tree Houses or Tree Swings: tree houses and swings never go out of style. Ever. They just get outgrown
  • Giant Playsets: when there are no trees or even when there are, a really big playset that doesn't wobble when you swing will keep kids entertained for over a decade
  • A Pool: timeless choice
Stocking up on soccerballs, sprinklers, badminton nets and croquet sets will also keep things interesting. Basically, any outdoor furniture or equipment that invites play and sharing is perfect for this space.

5. And finally, a playroom, basement or den. If you have a fair amount of space in your home, consider dedicating some of it to a playroom or den. Depending on what you have to work with, this room can act as a place where younger kids can be active indoors, where it's okay to get messy, where video game championships are won and lost, or where you can house the giant lego collection. They are perfect sites for sleepovers, movie nights and parties. Bonus for you: if you don't like the mess, just close the door.
About the Author
Search San Clemente MLS listings and view Dana Point Short Sale and REO Properties in Orange County without leaving your computer - www.HartanovTeam.com.
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