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How to Choose a Family-Friendly Neighborhood

If you’re planning a move and have kids, one of the most important things is the location. When you choose a great neighborhood, you’re helping raise the likelihood you’re going to have good resale value in the future, in addition to improving your current quality of life. 

There are certain features you might look for in a family-friendly neighborhood that would perhaps be less relevant to someone without kids. 

Below are some features of family-friendly communities and tips and things to look for. 


The school district is probably one of your top priorities if you have kids of any age if you enroll them in the public school system. You should start narrowing down your list of potential neighborhoods based on the school district if possible. Remember, while sites that rank schools based on test scores can be a starting point, scores aren’t the only thing that makes a good school district. 

You want to look for schools that will be a good fit for your child’s needs and will have programs that are well-suited to them. 

If your kids are younger and aren’t yet in kindergarten, you might be looking for a neighborhood with a good school district for the future and proximity to good daycares or preschools. 

Beyond test scores, as you compare schools, you might think about whether or not any options specialize in STEM, for example, or maybe you’d like to consider a charter or magnet school. Small classes can be a feature of a strong school, as can a lot of different extracurriculars that both kids and parents might participate in. 

Your Commute

You might not think about your commute to work as a family-friendly feature, but it can be. If you choose a neighborhood that makes your commute easier, then you’re going to have more time to spend at home with your family. You’ll have more work-life balance, which will improve things for your entire family. 

Spend Some Time Driving Around the Neighborhood

Even if a neighborhood seems great on paper, it might not have the right atmosphere for your family. 

If you can, spend some time driving around a neighborhood and exploring it at different times of day. Go on the weekend in the middle of the day, in the late afternoon on a weekday, and perhaps in the early evening. 

This will give you a feel for whether or not there are other kids in the community, if they spend time outside, and how lively the neighborhood seems to be. 

If a neighborhood is family-friendly, you’re more likely to see school buses on weekday afternoons and kids out in their yards. 

If you’re thinking about buying in a particular neighborhood, don’t be hesitant to get out and talk to some of the neighbors if you see them. Ask what they like and potentially don’t like about living in the community. 


The family-friendly amenities you’re most interested in can depend on the age of your kids and what they like to do. Parks and playgrounds can be good amenities in a neighborhood. 

You might prefer walkability and pedestrian access to cafes and restaurants. 

Some families like community centers or libraries to be located nearby. 

You also generally want your neighborhood to offer proximity and convenience when it comes to the necessities. For example, the grocery store should be close by because you don’t want to pack up your kids for a long drive every time you need to pick something up. 


You can check the crime statistics for a community before you add it to your potential list of places to call home, but you’ll probably need to do a little more in-depth research

This is again where driving around can be a good idea. If people spend a lot of time out and about in the neighborhood, it might indicate they feel safe doing so. 

Let yourself get a feel for the vibe of a neighborhood at different times of day and night to make sure you’d feel comfortable walking the dog or jogging, for example. 

Pay attention to traffic as well. Are people respectful of pedestrians, or are there areas where they’re flying through the neighborhood?

It’s never easy to choose a new neighborhood, but it’s important to give yourself time in the process, especially if you’re looking for a family-friendly location. 

Go beyond the surface to find out what’s going to work for your lifestyle now, but also what your family is likely to need in the future.

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