We recently moved from a single family home to a townhouse with our kids. It was an upgrade and in a much better neighborhood, but part of me was nervous about giving up our own outdoor space — and about sharing walls with neighbors. We aren’t the quietest family in the world. The move has been such a positive experience for us. Here are ways we make townhouse living work with kids.
We are fortunate that we found a townhouse community full of kids. Each building has four units in it. Our building has kids in every townhouse. And many others in the community also have kids. I don’t feel nearly as bad if we’re a little noisy because I know my neighbors understand.
When choosing a townhouse, consider who else lives there. If the community is fully of singles or retired folks, they may not be as welcoming to you and your kids. Also consider the area around the townhouse. Is there green space near the unit where they can play? Is there a playground or community pool?
Let your kids know your expectations for their behavior in the townhouse. We talked extensively about respecting our neighbors by not yelling or being too loud, especially late at night. Playing outdoors is another area to set rules for. Our kids are older and the neighborhood is very safe, so we feel comfortable with them playing outside near our townhouse without constant supervision. But they must let us know if they are leaving the immediate area.
Townhouses usually have multiple levels. Ours has three. That means a lot of stairs. When you have young kids, you’ll need secure baby gates at the tops and bottoms of each set of stairs. The best type are gates with frames that screw into the walls. Tension-type gates can easily pop out if your child leans against them.
We also have an open staircase with a railing in the living room that overlooks the two-story entrance. Our kids are old enough to know not to lean or climb on the railing, but younger kids need constant supervision in those cases.
Another potential area for safety concerns is a balcony if the townhouse has one. Always supervise your child on the balcony so she doesn’t lean over the railing. Keep patio furniture away from the railings if possible to discourage climbing.
Living in a townhouse with kids is a feasible option depending on the specifics of the community and the townhouse unit itself. Over time, you and your kids will adjust to the lifestyle.