What Makes a Family-Friendly Neighbourhood

More and more families are looking for neighbourhoods that can accommodate their changing needs. Whether you’re looking at homes for sale in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, or anywhere in between, we want to help you find the best neighbourhood for your family. Use this information about what makes a family-friendly neighbourhood as a guide, so you can consider all the important factors when searching for a place to raise your family.

Key Factors Of A Family-Friendly Neighbourhood

It’s important for most people with children to raise their kids in a family-friendly environment. Many aspects of neighbourhoods play a role in a healthy atmosphere for families, like education, safety, noise, community culture, activities, and transportation.

Schools And Education

Schools and the education systems are probably the driving force behind family-friendly neighbourhoods. When people look at planting roots to raise a family, they will start to look at the areas with the best schools first. While some areas offer school choice, most places determine who they let in by where they live. Usually, families must live within the district boundaries.

High ratings are a key indicator of a good school but that doesn’t mean others aren’t great too. You’ll want to hear what the residents think of the schools in their district. Do they have a good reputation? Sometimes schools can be overcrowded, so looking for a school in a smaller setting can be beneficial. If you have a family with small children and plan to live somewhere long-term, look at the secondary schools in the area that you like and then see what elementary schools feed into it. This will help you narrow down which neighbourhoods could be a good fit.

Safety And Security

As a father and mother, the thought of safety is a natural instinct to think about, which makes for an important factor when determining what makes a family-friendly neighbourhood. When starting your search, you can easily look up crime data in different areas. You can take it a step further though and visit the neighbourhood to get a sense of how safe the area is. Some things you can note are if there are kids outside playing, families walking, and plenty of street lights. You’ll also see what the local businesses are. Are they family-friendly places, or do they appeal to a more adult crowd?

The bottom line is that you want to relax knowing your family is safe living in a neighbourhood. Think about it as your kids get older and leave home by themselves. Would you feel comfortable with them leaving the house on their own?

Noise Level

While this may not be important to everyone, living in a noisy neighbourhood isn’t for everyone, especially for families of small children. For this reason, it’s common to find family-friendly neighbourhoods in the suburbs or rural areas as opposed to the city. That doesn’t mean there can’t be great neighbourhoods in the middle of the hustle and bustle, though. And unless your family will be living in the middle of nowhere, it’s good to assume you’ll still hear noises to some degree.

If this is important to you,  you’ll want to look for neighbourhoods further away from a city centre and major highways. You may also want to stay away from areas with a college campus as there are oftentimes students up late and out and about.

Community Culture

Part of what makes a family-friendly neighbourhood is a sense of community. The best way to figure out the culture of a neighbourhood is to drive through the area and a bonus if you can talk to some of the families from there. You can look for kids playing, toys left outside, etc. These are all signs of a good family-friendly neighbourhood. Even if toys are left out, pay attention to how the yards are maintained. Interestingly enough, how lawns are kept can be a good sign of a healthy environment. Seeing other families outside, meeting some of the neighbours, and even talking to your real estate agent can be super beneficial in helping you determine if a neighbourhood is a good fit for your family.

Recreation And Activities

Other key elements of a family-friendly neighbourhood are parks, green spaces, and activities! You’ll want to look specifically for playgrounds, but if they have public pools, splash pads, and community centres, that’s even better! If you frequent these areas often, chances are you’ll find others who do and make family friends.

Neighbourhoods, where the homes have backyards, are also great as it provides a space to play outside without having to leave your home. If an area has big backyards, you may have found your home! Having easy access to the outdoors is crucial for raising children as it lets them run off energy when you can’t make it to the park.

If you have a family that likes to interact with the community, you’ll want to be sure to look for activities put on by the community. Places you can look at or consider are after-school programs, summer camps, and especially the library for children’s storytime!

Necessities In Close Proximity

Having places you’ll need to visit close by is helpful for those living in a family-friendly community. Sometimes you’ll need to grab a couple of items from the grocery store for dinner, restaurants when you want to eat out, banks, and even Dr’s offices. Think about if you get a call from your kid’s school saying your child isn’t feeling well. Having their doctor close by for a quick visit saves a lot of time! If you’re seeing pediatrician practices close by, chances are you’re in a family-friendly neighbourhood.

Infrastructure Options

Something that may not be thought of until after the fact is infrastructure. Consider how the roads are positioned. Are they long and straight? If so, think about cars speeding down the road or rush hours twice a day of people driving to and from work. If the streets are in a u-shape, or even better a cul-de-sac, then this makes the neighbourhoods calmer, which will help you be comfortable letting your children play outside.

Sidewalks might be underrated, but they’re a staple feature of a family-friendly neighbourhood. For parents of young children, being able to strap your kids in a stroller and go for a walk along a sidewalk to get some fresh air is extremely helpful. Kids learn to express themselves with chalk drawings along sidewalks and can also be a place for kids to learn to ride a bike safely.

What To Look For In A Family-Friendly Neighbourhood

We hope this article has given you factors to consider or helped you figure out what makes a family-friendly neighbourhood. Be sure to consider these variables when looking for a place to raise your family.

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