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The right kinds of homes for kids in a sane world

“The right kinds of homes” is relative to that part of the world you find yourself. If you are in a developed society, then it may probably be easy to get. However its a different tale for my counterparts in developing countries while under-developed countries are worse of.

White kids have luxuries but do you think black kids don’t love luxuries? Its all a question of fate

I remember when I was barely six and was made to spend my vacation at a relative’s abode which later became a norm. They were the best times of my childhood because those relatives were wealthy and had children that were my age-grade. They lived in Victoria Island which was then one of the most expensive neighbourhood in the country. My cousins’ living room had what was then high grade furniture and household sets. There was a day the naughty last offspring of the family, Bidemi cut through the sofa in the living room with a blade, that was when I knew how expensive and important that piece and other pieces of furniture in the living room were. Bidemi who was my age-mate had a penchant for destroying expensive and beautiful things in the house. It was a hobby for her that she took extreme delight in.

This would make you dream of heaven

This would make you dream of heaven

It was made abundantly clear that we were not to touch several pieces of furniture, or sit on it, eat or drink on it.

In fact, if Bidemi’s mother had her way she would’ve discouraged us from even entering the room. The ornate living set was her prized possession and she just couldn’t bear the thought of having sticky fingerprints plastered all over it.

Today’s parents have a lot less to worry about regarding furniture, thanks to some great advances in textile design, but a lot more to consider regarding the family friendliness of the rest of the home.

Between tech gadgets, sports equipment and toys, the average upper class Nigerian kid now owns a slew of stuff.

So the question becomes, where are you going to stash it all?

Storage isn’t the only consideration when building a family-friendly home.

READ ALSO: How to find a home

One of the beauties of building from scratch is that you can avoid a lot of pitfalls by considering family-friendly features in the original design. But even if you’ve already built your home, there’s a lot you can do to accommodate a growing family.

Here are key points to keep in mind:

1. Kids are noisy

Not only are those shoot ’em up video games loud, kids like to turn up the volume on music and television too, making your house feel like ‘Best Buy’. When they’re not doing those things, little ones are often found singing and dancing for no other reason than the pure joy of entertaining (adorable until you need to hop on a private call with your boss or business associate).

To keep all that chatter contained, architects and home-builders recommend flexible rooms adjacent to the main living area that can perform double duty as both play room and study space.

“Most couples start a family and think kids will keep toys in their bedroom and find a spot to study, but all that stuff overflows into rooms you usually want to keep clean,” says architect Jason Pearce of the Becker Morgan Group in Salisbury, Md.

White kids have luxury but who says black kids don't love luxury too

White kids have luxury but who says black kids don’t love luxury too

Today’s parents have a lot to consider regarding the family friendliness of their home. Suddenly your house looks like a day-care center or a wing of the public library. Avoid putting these flexible spaces near bedrooms, as most kids want to be near mom and dad, so they can ask you for homework help … or snacks.

Be sure to include plenty of storage for game consoles, toys and books. Consider pocket doors that can be opened onto the main living space for added seating and mingling when entertaining. When the kids get older, this allows it to work as a quiet room where anybody can escape to take a phone call or read.

2. Kids eat a lot, and so do their friends.

The all-inclusive kitchen is key to family-friendly living. The kitchen is the hub of any house, but it takes on special significance when you have a growing family and each member has friends that come over to play or study. It also serves as a unifying force for families, a place where everyone can gather without being scattered, though most kitchens in Nigeria whether for the upper, middle or lower classes hardly follow that rule

The most functional family kitchens accommodate a breakfast area, a TV for mom and dad to catch up on news and a spot for everyone to grab a quick meal or snack. A nice bonus is to have lower cabinets where you can stock age-appropriate snacks for little ones as they start to develop their independence.

If you can afford it, why not let them have their own living rooms too

If you can afford it, why not let them have their own living rooms too

3. Kids love to play outside.

Outdoor living takes on new meaning in family homes. When they’re little, having green space give kids a natural, safe environment in which to explore and enjoy a swing set. As they get older and take up sports, many will need a place to practice. Plan ahead or you’ll end up relinquishing your driveway to a makeshift basketball court or football field down the line. You might also want to consider retaining walls to catch balls before they break a neighbor’s window.

Kids love to play even at home. Give them that space

Kids love to play even at home. Give them that space

4. Kids are tech-savvy.

Between video game consoles, smart-phones, tablets and laptops, families own more gadgets than ever, hence the trend toward home charging stations that serve as home base for all that technology.

Comprised mostly of cabinets and a desk or counter-top,

“we usually put charging stations in a back hallway and allow ample storage for plugs, cases and all those gadgets,” says architect Wayne Visbeen.

Who wants to look at a slew of cords coming out of electrical outlets throughout the house or go crazy looking for one when they can be hidden away in a safe, handy spot?

“I recommend putting plugs inside the cabinets, too, so you can close them and keep things out of sight until they’re charged and ready for use.” Visbeen continues

Some charging stations have surface areas that double as study desks, and in those cases, Visbeen suggests placing it near the kitchen, so kids can have access to parents for homework help.

“Sometimes this can eliminate a need for a traditional office,” he adds.

The ideal home provides a whole lot more for kids

The ideal home provides a whole lot more for kids

5. Kids love pets.

Where there’s a kid, there’s sometimes a dog or, a cat. Either way, pets require certain considerations. Whether you’re the type of pet owner who likes to have them in a separate part of the house or you simply want to organize the beds, crates, food and toys in one spot, have a plan for where all those supplies will go.

 

Every kid would love this

Every kid would love this

 

6. Kids are messy, sensitive creatures.

Carpet is the biggest attractor of dirt and bacteria, but a lot of families like it because it’s warm and soft to the touch. Tighter, wound carpets are easier to keep clean, though remember you’ll need to get these professionally cleaned in order to truly get everything out.

If carpets aren’t your thing, hardwood and tile floors hold up to kids well and you can always opt for area rugs that can be easily cleaned or removed in case someone developes allergies.

Finally, keep safety in mind even when designing details, like stairs and railings. As long as you meet code, stairs can be done 10 inches apart to make it easier for little ones.

Children are the leaders of tomorrow, lavish them with useful imagery

Children are the leaders of tomorrow, lavish them with useful imagery

7. Kids eventually grow up. They leave. And some come back.

What’s your reward for 19 to 24 years of parenting?  What do you do when the kids are finally all grown and out of your hair? Assuming your offspring is one that graduates from school and immediately gets a job after service year in a location away from home. A job and a place that ensures he/she only comes visiting once a year or at most two. Then they eventually start their own families.

What do you do when the kids are all grown and out of your hair?

What do you do when the kids are all grown and out of your hair?

Now you have options on what to do with space: bull-doze their bedroom at home and turn it into that study, media room, craft room or yoga studio you’ve been craving. It may help ensure they don’t boomerang home for free rent, isn’t it?

READ ALSO: Modern homes could cut risk of malaria by up to half – study

Perhaps you’re ready to welcome your graduate for a while, but you aren’t wild about a mutual lack of privacy.

Or you got other places he can fit into well after fully attaining adulthood?; you are good to go…

To truly make a home family friendly for years to come, consider what your needs will be as your children grow older rather than thinking about what’s best right now. This will ensure you’re ready for anything.

READ ALSO: LUXURY HOMES: Is it a necessity?

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