Finding the perfect apartment when you’ve got a toddler can be a bit more complicated than apartment-hunting for adults. Here are a few things to look for.
Other Kids in the Complex
If you’ve got a small child, one of the best things you can do is move into an apartment complex with lots of other children. Arranging play dates and signing your kids up for activities is great but kids also need time to play in an unstructured environment. Playing with other kids helps children learn to get along with others and problem solve. Kids who have lots of free-play will grow up to be more secure and independent than kids who spend most of their time in structured-play. If there are lots of kids around, there will be more opportunities for your little one to make new friends and free-play.
Proximity to Parks, Libraries and Schools
Being within walking distance of the park or library will make it easier to visit these places more often. If the school is around the corner, when it’s time to send the kids off to kindergarten there won’t be any need to worry about busing or battling the morning traffic each day. As a bonus, walking to these places will help improve your child’s physical fitness. You may also want to look for an apartment community with a park onsite.
Distance from Roads
With little kids, you can’t be too careful when it comes to roads. If you’re going to let your child play outside, which is almost always a good idea, make sure you choose a complex that is offset from the main, busy roads in your town.
Plenty of Sidewalks
An apartment complex with plenty of sidewalks around will make it much safer to walk around with your child.
Gates around the Pools
Pools are a lot of fun for kids but they are almost always unsupervised. If you would like to live in a complex with a pool, make sure that the gates lock properly so that your little one can’t wander in accidentally.
Railing on the Balcony/Well-Enclosed Patio
If you’re on the second or third story of your complex (or above if you’re in a high rise) be absolutely certain that the railing around the balcony is child-proof. This means that the bars should be close enough together that a child can’t slip through (or slip a head through, getting stuck in the railing). They should also be free of horizontal bars so that toddlers can’t climb up to the top of the railing. If you’re on the ground floor, look for a unit with a well enclosed patio and a gate that locks. The walls should also be high enough that people walking by can’t look in.
Steepness of the Steps
If you’ve got a new walker and you’re apartment is up a flight of stairs, make sure that the steps aren’t too steep so that your toddler can climb up and down on his own. Stairs should also have a rail that keeps a toddler from slipping off the sides.