Are you looking to move to the suburbs with kids? Don’t make the same mistakes that I did! When I first moved to the suburbs, I was pregnant with my first child so I thought I knew what I needed.
We moved from the city coming from a 1 bedroom condo and this was our first time buying a single-family home. We ended up with a little ranch in the suburbs which would have been perfect for two adults without kids.
But once we had our daughter, we quickly realized the house was not a good fit for us. We sold it after 2 years and moved again. If I had known what I knew now, I wouldn’t have bought that home and it would have saved us from moving twice (the second time with a toddler!). Here is what you need to know when moving to the suburbs with kids.
What You Need When You Move to the Suburbs with Kids
You will need a playroom
A house with a playroom is important when you move to the suburbs with kids. I really underestimated the need for a playroom.
The ranch that we bought had a big eat-in next to the kitchen with space for a little play area at the side. I thought that little play area was enough. I was wrong!
Don’t underestimate the need for a dedicated space for toys. If you don’t dedicate a space for your children’s toys then you will start seeing toys everywhere. There will be piles of toys in your kitchen, family room, living room, bedrooms, and hallways. The clutter of toys will take over your house. You will need a playroom to store all the toys.
Most people use their basements as their playroom. However, if you don’t have a finished basement, you can designate a room in the house to use as a playroom. I
f your budget does not allow for a dedicated playroom, try to find an area that you can make into a play area. I think the key is to have a big enough space to contain all the toys. Ideally, a space with a door so that at the end of the day, you can shut the door and keep all the toys out of sight!
Aside from keeping toys out of sight, you also need a playroom for playdates. It’s nice to have a dedicated play area when friends are over otherwise you may have kids running all over your house! Having a playroom for playdates is also safer for everyone because you know your playroom is child-proof safe.
Mudrooms are Important
Mudrooms are important when you move to the suburbs with kids. This is especially true if you live in the northeast where you will track snow or mud into the house, you will want a mudroom to come into so you can leave your boots and shoes and hang up your coats/jackets.
In our first home in the suburbs, we did not have a mudroom so when we entered the house, we walked right into our living room which was not ideal because aside from tracking mud into the house, we were piling up our coats and shoes by the front door.
Ideally, you will want a mudroom with cubbies to store coats, jackets and multiple sports equipment. As your kids get older, you will find the ever-increasing need for sports equipment storage. And you have to take into account the different sports seasons- in the winter, you need space for your daughter’s ice skating bag and your son’s ice hockey bag and in the spring, you need space for baseball and softball bags.
You will need to plan where to store these sports equipment as you switch it out every season (the basement is great for this or the garage). You also want to keep the bags organized so you can easily grab the bags when you need them. Mudroom cubbies are great because you can designate a cubby for each person and everyone will know where to put their jackets/coats, shoes and bags.
Attached Garage is a Plus
A house with an attached garage will make your life easier when you live in the suburbs with kids. You may not think this is essential but it is (trust me!). If your budget allows it, try to get a house with an attached garage even if it’s a one car garage.
During the winter, when the temperature drops below freezing, you will be happy you have an attached garage. I remember when my youngest child used to nap in the car, it was always so much easier transferring him into the house from the garage without having to worry about the cold.
Also, when it snows, it will save you a lot of time in the morning because you don’t have to clean your car. You can just get in your car and drive off.
Make room for your Guests
When you move to the suburbs with kids, you will definitely need a guest room. Get a house with an extra room that you can use as a guest room. Prior to having kids, we rarely had family come to visit. Once we had kids, we had frequent visits from both my parents and my in-laws (I actually love having them as guests because they help me with the kids!)
I remember in our first suburban home, we didn’t have a guest room. They used the pull-out sofa in the family room. Between the pile of toys and hosting them on a pull-out sofa, the sleeping arrangement quickly became very uncomfortable for everyone.
If your budget allows it, get a home with an extra room that you can use as a guest room. Otherwise, you should plan to have a dedicated space such as a finished basement or an office that you can use as your guest room.
Storage Space is Essential
You will need lots of storage when you move to the suburbs with kids. When you have kids, you end up accumulating a lot of stuff. Don’t underestimate how much storage you will need.
When you are house hunting in the suburbs, look for a house with lots of storage space. Is there a basement to store extra stuff? Is there room in the garage for shelving so you can store holiday decorations and seasonal ski rentals? Is there a storage shed for outdoor equipment and tools? Is there an attic to store empty luggage?
You definitely need a home with lots of storage otherwise your home will be cluttered with stuff!
Backyard is Important
Having a backyard is important when you move to the suburbs with kids. Ideally, you should find a home with a level yard that is fenced-in and enclosed. That way you can let your kids play outside and you don’t have to worry about them running out to the street.
If you can find a home with a kitchen window that faces the backyard, that is even better because you can be in the kitchen while keeping an eye on your kids outside.
Our first home in the suburbs had the worst backyard, the grass area was tiny since most of the yard was all rocks. There was no space in the backyard for a swing set and not a lot of room to run around. Plus the rocks were dangerous and can get slippery. Definitely find a house in the suburbs with a good backyard, you will not regret it!
Find Out Where the School Bus Stops
When you move to the suburbs, you want to make sure there is a school bus to pick up your child and know exactly where the school bus stops to pick up your child. Don’t assume there is school bus transportation because some school districts in the suburbs don’t offer transportation to school.
Also, don’t assume the school bus stop will be right in front of your house because more often than not the school bus stop is at the end of the block.
The difference between the school bus stopping in front of your house versus walking to the end of the block can potentially affect your daily life significantly. Especially if there are younger siblings because you can’t just leave the baby at home napping when you walk to the end of the block to pick up your child after school!
When you are house hunting in the suburbs, you should find out if your school district provides school bus transportation and find out where the school bus stops to pick up.
Final Thoughts on Moving to the Suburbs with Kids
Moving to the suburbs with kids is a lot more complicated than moving as a couple. You definitely need more space and there are more things to consider when you are moving to the suburbs with kids.