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Old 01-17-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
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What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

We are moving and having to choose btw city and suburbs. I have a 4yo and I know what type of environment I would pick if he were going to stay 4 forever, but what about 6 or 8 or 11 or 13 etc?

What do you wish you had around for an older kid? Wish you didn't have to drive them everywhere or wish where you drove them to was closer? Wish they could wander around on their own in your neighborhood but you live in the city? Wish they could ride their bike to somewhere but there is no where to go? Wish your street were less busy or flatter or that kids did or did not play in it? Wish there were sidewalks? Wish they could walk to school? A bike path? Glad you live in the city and they can get around without you? and so on and so on and so on.

I need the details to make a better decision.



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Old 01-17-2013, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

If I could afford a decent place in the city in a safe neighborhood with really good schools I would prefer that to the suburbs. I live in a suburb city like a lot are and I just tolerate it because that is all there is. It would depend on the locations themselves and how they were set up.

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Old 01-17-2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

I moved to the US from the UK when I was 13. We moved to the suburbs. The loss of independence was mortifying: I couldn't even get to the train station on my own, because there weren't bike routes, and major roads all the way.

The only things to do were going to the mall, hanging out at the single coffee shop, or going to the movies.

I don't know which country we'll raise our family in, but it will be somewhere with a robust public transport system, safe cycling paths, art museums, music and a choice of cafes / spaces for discourse and conversation.

ETA: oh! And a sense of community. Political and social activity and so forth. And diversity, ethnic and socioeconomic.

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Old 01-17-2013, 02:05 PM   #4
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

It totally depends on the family and the child. DH and I thrive on a rural setting. DH, especially. When he is stuck in the city, he really struggles to not be grumpy. So, for the sake of our family, we live in country as much as possible. (we're military, so we don't always have much say in this) I figure it is up to us as parents to help our children be content where they are. I don't mind driving my kids to things, if need be. There are so many things they can do in both settings. Unless your child is old enough for you to have an idea of what type of person they are (city vs rural) I don't know how you'd choose.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:34 PM   #5
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

I would choose an average neighborhood with lots of kids, and a great school within walking distance.

As a kid in the 70s, I lived in a city, but we had huge apartment buildings with large grassy areas all around it. We all played there every day all day. We ran all over the neighborhood, we took the bus downtown...lots of freedom. But, now, if I had a seven year old, I wouldn't want her to do any of those things that I did in that same area. So, she'd be at home most days.

I'd rather have a place with yards, streets, sidewalks and lots of kids. But, not out in the country. I want activities to be close, and the school to be closer.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:52 PM   #6
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

We live in the city. We love the diversity and the fact that dd is exposed to tons of different cultures, ethnic groups, languages, etc. We love the amazing cultural opportunities, the theater, music, art, etc. (How many 5-year-olds get to take drawing classes in the galleries of one of the most famous museums in the world?) We love that dd gets so much exercise just by walking places, i.e., that exercise is just part of her daily routine. We love going to the many playgrounds nearby and meeting new friends. There are kids everywhere; we live in a big apartment building that's full of them. On rare snow days, we don't have to leave the building to have a playdate and on Halloween we can go trick-or-treating to 100 apartments in an hour. There's never any need to search for things to do, because there are a million things within a ten-block-radius the minute you step outside.

From an environmental and economic perspective, we love that we don't own a car and will never need to and that our carbon footprint is significantly smaller living in a modest apartment than it was living in a house.

We spent two years living in a nice suburb and absolutely hated it. I found it totally annoying to have to get in the car and drive to get a gallon of a milk or a forgotten item in a recipe, instead of being able to just run downstairs and get it at the corner store. I loathed the homogeneity and the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses attitude I saw in a lot of people. We had a backyard, but dd always preferred going to the park/playground anyway.

All that said, this is so much about personal preference. Different kids (and adults) thrive in different environments, and some kids will do well in any environment.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

We like the suburbs. We are close enough that driving for shopping, museums, etc. isn't a big deal. I like my kids having a big backyard, a neighborhood to roam around safely, and quiet streets to ride bicycles.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:44 PM   #8
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

I teach middle school in an urban area, and would not want to live urban. In Indianapolis, most of the urban areas have packs of kids wandering around with no parent supervision, and there aren't many safe places for them to go. While there are obviously exceptions, many of the kids in the urban schools do not value their education the same as the kids in the suburbs.

I'd pick the suburbs every time. I want a fenced big backyard, a neighborhood pool DD can ride her bike to, and a community of similar values to mine.
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:13 PM   #9
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Re: What type of environment do older kids thrive in?

I believe children need Opportunities, opportunities, opportunities!!!!!

The ability to try out for great sports teams, join a theatre group, have expert instruction for any musical instrument, excessive volunteer opportunities, try horseback ridding, or dauble in diving - rowing - or anything they can dream they would like to try!!! Surround them with culture, fine arts, museums, science centers, zoos, aquariums, ballet, robotics, and the best schools you can afford.
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