Question of the week #33

2691049_300Someone asked me a question this week who had three kids between 8-11.  She wanted to know what would be my one piece of advice in raising kids.  I thought about it and said to be honest with your kids.  Tell them the truth when they ask as they wouldn't ask if they weren't ready to know the answer. 

So when this question popped up this week, although a little different, I thought I would write about it. 

How old were your kids when you moved into the city, what were the
tradeoffs, and what were the keys to making city life as "easy" as
suburban life for your kids?

When we moved back to the city our kids were 8, 6 and 3.  There might have been a tradeoff for the kids since they had a backyard to run around in but city life made Fred and me happier.  Happy parents, happy kids. 

As they say, it is all about how anything is presented.  We told the kids that we had the best news in the
Imgres world and that we were going to move back to the city.  What did they know?  All they knew is that we couldn't be happier so they literally cheered. 

There are still soccer programs, art classes, community oriented baseball leagues so the things that are easily available in suburban life are easily available in the city too.  The only difference is there is more concrete, less grass and kids can't roam as freely until they hit a certain age.  What there isn't in the suburbs but there is in the city is museums, amazing restaurants, cultural experiences just walking down the street, art galleries, theater and more. 

Fast forward our kids are now 22, 20 and 17 and I am 100% positive that they will all agree that one of the best decisions we ever made as parents was moving them to the city instead of raising them in the suburbs.  We were lucky that financially we could opt for either choice and so we opted for the choice that for us was the perfect move. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. pointsnfigures

    you moved back earlier than we did. We moved at age 12 and 9. For us it was all new again. For our kids, it was culture shock. Not to mention the 30-40 bar/bat mitzvah’s they each went too! (Diversity was protestant or catholic where we were-and being WASPs, we were probably a diversity pick at our school!)I had daughters-I am not sure I would raise a boy in the city. Suburban boys are different than city boys. But, since I don’t have one I won’t know. There is soccer-but football and baseball are harder. Have a friend who’s son is a good pitcher-and he has to go to the burbs to play.Now that they’re older they say they appreciated the move. We have been clear that there are benefits to both types of lifestyles. No one has the market cornered. I wouldn’t rule a move out of the city for my wife and myself. There are things about the suburbs that I miss.But, the grass is always greener. My grandma used to say, Bloom where you are planted. So, we try to do that.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Agree with your grandma. For me I do not miss the suburbs at all

  2. Kirsten Lambertsen

    I always fantasize about moving back to the city if we get the right finances to do it. But on weeks like this week, it’s hard to imagine our 6 and 4 year olds anywhere but in our backyard, staying cool in the kiddie pool.I’d be blissfully happy in the city. But until our ship comes in, it’s not a decision I have to face 🙂

  3. disqus_UqTQsvQAeZ

    I wish I would be in the city. Currently I am living on an island where you cannot go anywhere by foot and I cannot put my baby down on the grass because of fear (snakes…).

  4. daryn

    I’m not sure that suburban (or urban in a smaller city) life is really any “easier”, it’s completely different.My brother and his wife’s kids were born and raised on the UWS until they were 3, 5, and 9, at which point they moved out to Vancouver, BC. They went from walking down the street to PS 166, to having to buy a car so they could drop the kids at 2 different schools each morning. And having to drive to sports events, play dates, and grocery stores. What to do during the rainy season? There’s a lot less options as far as museums and the like. When a kid is sick or doesn’t want to leave the house, it’s a lot harder to get food delivery besides the local Chinese restaurant or pizza. And cost-wise, they just bought a fixer-upper house that cost as much as their 3-BR apartment on 89th st. Obviously there’s a lot more factors to that one, but the point being there are pros and cons to each.I’ll admit, I’m a little scared of our move from the middle of a neighborhood where playgrounds abound, and I can walk anywhere and get anything I want at all hours, to a small town where we’ll have an amazingly peaceful and private house, more space, and the public schools are excellent, but we’ll become commuters. We’re already dreaming of a pied-a-terre in the city!

    1. Gotham Gal

      agree…completely different. no matter what, having young kids and getting them from place to place is not easy whereever you choose to live.

    2. anne weiler

      Vancouver is extremely easy to get around without a car. Public transit is excellent, and it’s a very bikeable city. Food delivery is from every nationality and available in short walking distance in all urban neighborhoods. Are they living in Vancouver or a suburb of Vancouver?

      1. daryn

        They’re in Yaletown, their new house is in Kitsilano. Vancouver is great as far as infrastructure and vibrancy, just not quite manhattan 🙂

  5. pixiedust8

    I don’t want to live in the suburbs (although I get why people do), but I really want a house or an apartment with our own green space. My daughter told me that when she’s eight, she’ll be ready to have a house, a dog, and a garden. 🙂

  6. LE

    “Happy parents, happy kids. “Exactly. Number one thing parents don’t consider in decision making.We told the kids that we had the best news in the world and that we were going to move back to the city. What did they know? All they knew is that we couldn’t be happier so they literally cheered.When my kids were younger and my parents would visit I would get all excited on purpose just so they would see me get excited and see it as a positive experience. [1] It worked. Kids pick up on what parents think is important (reason for so many jewish doctors I suspect). Kids learn by what they see and what they experience more than what they are told. They can reject what they are told.When I was a kid my mom always got excited talking about good colleges making it seem important. She never said “you must get into a good college”. She never said “you must marry a” etc. She just always told stories about others in a positive light regarding what was important to her and I picked up on that and it shaped me. (Same with my father as well).”He went to MIT!””She’s attending the University of Pennsylvania!” Her comment regarding the mailman “that’s all he wanted out of life I guess”.In Philly we grew up with much talk about NYC (and this was in the 70’s you know the city was not like it is today). Always as if it was a great place (we went to the NYC gift show for business at the Coliseum) always a special experience. At bar mitzvahs things were said such as “it’s like a new york affair” (some had the NY Times given out at the end which was considered a classy move).Consequently independent of anything else going on regarding NYC I saw it positively before it was fashionable in the way it is today.