No matter what society will tell you, there’s no one right way to raise your kids. Finding the best parenting practices for your family will often take a bit of trial and error before you find what fits. I know I’ve had my fair share of bumps in the road, especially toward the beginning of my life as a mom. One of the most difficult questions I had to answer as a new mom was where I was going to raise my kids. Country life seemed lovely and serene, but there was something about the hustle and the bustle of the big city that just seemed to be the right fit for my family. Several years later, I think my kids would certainly agree that city life suits us. To help you make the transition to city living, here are three of my top tips for raising your kids in a big city.
Teach safety from an early age
Above all else, one of the most important tips for raising your kids in a big city is to teach them about safety from a very early age. Between busy crosswalks, traffic jams, and an abundance of other people, certain cities can pose more safety risks than life in the country. Teach your kids how to recognize and avoid these risks as early as possible. This will help them become more aware when in large surroundings, and you can rest a bit easier when they grow into teens and want to explore the city on their own. Teach them how to ride public transportation and instruct them on the proper safety precautions for walking down a busy city street. Stranger danger is also an important conversation to have with your kids, especially for those who are a bit more sociable and want to make friends with everyone they see on the street.
Choose a location that suits your family’s needs
Be sure to carefully consider location when looking to settle down in the city. Certain areas may be better suited to family life than others and will allow you to create a community with other parents and families. When looking for the perfect location, try to narrow things down according to the type of amenities in each area. Consider school districts and proximity to your work or your kids’ after school activities. It may also be beneficial to seek a location with a nearby park or outdoor youth center. City kids feel the need to run and play just as much as their country counterparts. It’s important to find a place where they can have an outlet for their energy; a nearby youth center may just be the perfect spot.
Embrace the sights and sounds of the city
One of the best benefits of city living is that your family will be constantly surrounded by an abundance of diversity. Embracing the sights and sounds that make your city so special is a great way to get your child involved in their community. Visit historical sites or become involved in a local cultural group to teach your kids more about diversity in your city. Becoming a part of your community in this way will teach your kids more about compassion, empathy, and diversity—they will grow up to be more well-rounded adults because of it.