Creating a family-friendly home is a really important part of homeownership, and of being a parent. A home that was once suitable for you before having children may not be suitable any more. As children grow and develop then the dynamics of the family home will change. It’s important to look to the future and create a space that will work now and also as the children grow older, unless you want to be moving home constantly! There are a lot of things you can do in the home to make sure it is family friendly. Here are some tips to ensure your property is family orientated.
Create extra space
Making sure you create extra space is really important and essential for the future of the family dynamic. You have to make sure you focus on making the best possible use of the space you have in the home currently. One of the best ways of doing this is to extend the property by way of an extension and perhaps a conservatory. This is something you have to make sure you get right as it will create an extra room and more inviting space for the rest of the family. It needs to suit your needs now, but also in the future. Kids grow so fast so take this into account whenever you are planning for more space. Will it be suitable in 5, 10 15 years?
Think about the layout
The layout is a vital part of family living. Our current home has the worst layout for the family. Whilst I am in the kitchen for the majority of the day doing housework and cooking meals I want to be able to see the children or be not too far away, but our kitchen is a small room at the front of the house. There’s no room for a table or chairs and so the kids are playing in the garden at the back of the house or in the living room and I have no idea what they are doing! Open plan living or at least a kitchen-diner makes much more sense to me for family living.
Make the garden work for everyone
If you have a garden then this is a great space for the children to run around, play and develop. It’s also a place for the family to congregate, socialise, and for all those summer BBQs and kids birthday parties. The garden needs to be functional for you as an adult to have somewhere to relax and socialise, but it also needs to provide a play area or space to run around for the kids. It’s easy to hire professionals when improving the garden, but to save money you can also work wonders yourself with a bit of elbow grease and some maintaining. Even a simple space is perfect for kids, think just grass and fences, so long as they get to play with nature, run around and enjoy the fresh air.
Get a pet
An excellent way of making the home more family-oriented is to get a family pet. Many people choose a cat or dog as their family pet, and this is a great choice, but it’s not the only choice. We have fish and chickens in the garden, for example. Why not choose a unique pet that will always be a talking point for your child? Getting a family pet is a great way to teach kids about responsibility, empathy and even loss, plus it could even complete the family unit and make it more homely.
Pest control is a must
If you have pets then it’s most likely you will have to do some pest control at some point. Pests are a nuisance and it’s possible they will appear in your garden, especially if you have outdoor pets as they’ll be tempted by their food. If you ever spot a rodent then calling in some rat control and pest control experts could be a great idea. They will ensure the pests are properly handled. Even indoors it’s possible to get pests, particularly if you have pets. Cats and dogs commonly get fleas and these can soon spread to your entire home! They are easy to get rid of and my advice is to act fast before it gets out of control.
Childproof the home
With children, particularly babies and young children, then you need to think about childproofing your home. There is no point in having a slick interior with breakables all over the place! The furniture and décor needs to be family friendly to prevent breakages and to be sticky finger ready! If you are expecting, then it’s pretty clear you’re going to need to get organised before your baby arrives, and this means making sure the home is as baby-oriented as possible. Choose sofas with removable washable covers, avoid glass top tables (that just spells disaster) and make sure anything that can be easily broken or damaged is out of reach of little fingers.
Invest for the future
Making smart changes to your home is also an investment for the future as it can increase the value of your home for a future sale providing more money for you and your kids in the future for retirement and inheritance. Extensions, garage conversions, double glazing, modern bathrooms and kitchens are all things that prospective buyers are looking for when buying a property. If your home needs little work doing and is very spacious then it will be very appealing when you come to sell. You can also invest in things like solar energy by installing solar panels which are not only very desirable and eco-friendly, but they’ll reduce your family outgoings and could even provide a small income if you can sell your unused electric back to the grid.
The driveway matters
It’s not always possible, but when choosing a family home try and find one with a driveway. It makes things so much easier when getting babies and small children in and out of cars as well as out of the house, without having to do it on a road. Getting the driveway relaid or repaired is a worthwhile investment if yours is a little worse for wear. Not only will it prevent accidents with the children tripping over if it’s uneven and full of pot holes, but it will give your property some curb appeal and increase the value again.
These are just a few starting points to think about when creating a family friendly home. There is so much to think about and sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error before getting it right. My advice would be to think about the future when planning and not just the now. Children grow so fast, so ask yourself, will your plans suit your grown children in five years or so too?