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As friends around me begin to have children, they start to migrate. Plans involving kids seem to necessitate moving to the suburbs, to the "good schools," to lower crime rates and larger backyards. It's even implied that my husband and I will do the same. Questions about where we'll move, and when, pepper conversations that are otherwise unrelated.
My husband and I decided long ago that we'll be resisting this push to relocate outside the city limits. In fact, in the years since we've had our son, we've tried to move further into the heart of our city. Yes, we've heard all the usual concerns, but there are also so many overlooked benefits to city living. We'd hate to have our children miss out simply because we were following the expected script.
By growing up in a more urban environment, my son has access to a wealth of cultural experiences, from art museums to sprawling libraries, special exhibits, festivals and parades. Of course, many small towns have similar offerings, but I find those in the city to be both more concentrated and more diverse.
I've heard concerns that my children won't have contact with nature, but I've found this isn't the case. Being within walking distance of shops, events, and all of those places listed above gives us added opportunity to be outside in the air and sun. Nearby parks, gardens and wildlife preserves provide ample access to grass and trees.
We also have the chance to encounter friends from all walks of life, introducing my son to a range of varying perspectives, cultures, and lifestyles. Being around so many people develops social skills, compassion, and an awareness of others.
Of course everyone will have their preferences. While I love the city, I'm sure that there are dozens of other reasons folks choose suburban or rural homes for their growing kids.
Where do you think is best for raising children?
About Liz Moorhead
Liz Moorhead is a high school teacher turned work-from-home mom. An illustrator and writer, she blogs for a top wedding site and shares her own personal experiences on her blog Happy Sighs in between walks to the park with her toddler son - all just outside of Philadelphia.