Money & Career

Contrary to popular belief, you can raise kids in a high-rise

Contrary to popular belief, you can raise kids in a high-rise

Getty Images

Money & Career

Contrary to popular belief, you can raise kids in a high-rise

Six reasons why they'll love life in the sky.

With housing prices in Canada off the charts and most families' "dream home" out of reach, it's not surprising to see households looking to high-rise living as an alternative. According to the 2016 Census, 44 percent of Toronto residents lived in an apartment or a condo compared to 40 percent in single detached houses. In the City of Vancouver, only 16 percent of residents lived in houses compared to 29 percent in high-rises. The trend is mirroring other international cities like New York or Hong Kong, where vertical households have long been the norm. 

Despite the stats, it can still be hard for many Canadians to shake the long-standing belief that children need their own backyard. Raising my own two kids in a condo has made me realize they don't need a house to have a happy home. In fact, there are many upsides to high-rise living for children.

Here are the best reasons condos are cool for kids:

House poor? No, thanks!
With housing prices skyrocketing year after year and bidding wars adding to the frenzy, many Canadian families are being stretched to the max by taking on giant mortgages they can barely afford. As more buyers with kids look at the condo market as an alternative, developers are steadily answering the call with more two and three bedroom units. Money saved on a more affordable condo or rental unit could go towards priceless family vacations, educational and sporting activities for the kids as well as overall quality of life. (And fidget spinners!)

Sleep like a baby
Despite not having a backyard, high-rise kids can still lead a very active lifestyle, which in turn leads to every parent's dream, a good night's sleep for all! More and more condo developers are adding family-friendly playrooms to their plans and in some cases, outdoor playgrounds and splash pads, too. Many high-rises have swimming pools that can be used to keep kids active on cold or rainy days. For those buildings that don't have as many amenities, local parks or playgrounds can easily substitute for a backyard.

High-rise living can provide the backdrop for many life lessons and character development for children. Frequent trips in the elevator give parents daily opportunities to model manners and encourage their children to display empathy to elderly residents requiring extra care and attention. Living in close quarters with others means that even if disagreements take place between kids, they all have to live together, so strategies for working out differences need be practiced regularly.

QT vs. commuting
Families are commuting longer and longer in order to afford a house for their children. Shelburne, Ont., which is an hour and a half northwest of Toronto, has seen an almost 25 percent jump in housing prices since last year thanks to an influx of commuters. Condos and apartment buildings in the city and surrounding areas can be another option for those who can't bear to spend hours a day in their cars away from their families. The extra hours saved daily could go towards more quality time with the kids.

It takes a village
It takes a village to raise a child and the community aspect of shared living spaces can be a very valuable asset for families. Clubs, activities and sporting events can be organized for the kids in the building and parents can take turns leading the charge. Having a parental support network under the same roof - as well as teens who could babysit younger children - can be a real bonus for busy parents. (Hint: Date night!)

So long, shovel
One of the biggest benefits of condo living is all the time and energy parents save when they aren't shovelling the driveway, cutting the grass, or doing all sorts of repairs around the house. Burn the honey-do-list! Kids benefit from all this bonus time, which can be used to play with them, help with homework or take them on excursions.

Jackie Burns is a freelance writer who is raising her two young sons in a Toronto condo. She is the author of The Condo Kids: Adventures with Bob the Barbary Sheep.


Share X
Money & Career

Contrary to popular belief, you can raise kids in a high-rise