Once you have children, it becomes much more difficult to move house because we enter into routine based on our locality. Many couples choose to move house before starting a family so that they are in a home suitable to raise a family. If you are in that situation, then look out for features that make a new area 'family friendly'.
Many prospective parents check out schools in their area to ensure that they are in good catchments. Remember though that you are at least 5 years away from starting school and that catchments change frequently according to population changes. Be especially careful of school catchment areas that can shrink - local development may create new houses aimed at families nearer to schools, pulling the catchment boundary in. Buying a house that is just inside a known catchment today may fall outside in 5 years time.
Before school, you will be spending lots of time entertaining your little ones as they grow from babiest o toddlers. Make sure that you have good family facilities nearby, ideally within walking distance of your house. Amenities to look for include parks, soft play, a library and swimming pools. Other 'attractions' that you might want nearby but not necessarily on your doorstep might include farms, zoos or theme parks.
When you have your first baby, you will welcome support from local groups and networks. Look for active playgroups in an area, and approach the NCT for information about activities in an area that you are not familiar with.
From a practical level, a local shop within walking distance of your home can be a blessing. Small convenience stores often stock everything that you might need in an emergency, for you or your new family. Check out public transport links too, even if you have a car, as there might be times when you can't rely on a car and still being mobile will be important.
Although it is possible to move house once you have your family, it becomes more difficult once you become entrenched in the local community and settle into a routine that suits the family, not to mention the sheer cost of moving. Choose wisely now and hopefully you will find a lovely family home in a great location that will see you through for years to come!
One of the joys of having preschool children is that you needn't be confined to your home - there are plenty of places that you can take young children that allow you the freedom to be out, and that extend their understanding of the world around them. When you think of places to go out with your children, some of the obvious places are the local park, playgroups and soft play - these are obviously child-oriented.
But consider also other places that might not otherwise spring to mind. Take them on a bus or a train - you don't need to head anywhere special, just take them for a ride. Take them to shopping centres not simply to shop, but to explore the spaces. Sit and talk with your little ones about what you can see. Go to your local library and swimming pool, visit any local museums or galleries.
Although you may not consider many of these spaces to be 'child friendly', preschool children will find plenty to keep them stimulated in even, what might appear to you to be, the most ordinary environments. Remember that the world offers so many new experiences for babies and toddlers and just being out and about will stimulate them far more than you might imagine. They are constantly taking in new sights, smells and sounds, and everything that they experience is building up their knowledge and understanding of the world. Babies and young toddlers will go wherever you take them and every day presents new adventures for them.
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