More often than not, city families head to the ‘burbs without giving too much thought to childcare. Maybe mom’s planning to maintain her SAHM status, the nanny’s coming with, or grandma is going to start managing pickup post-move. Or, maybe, the family is taking a we’ll-figure-it-out-when-we-get-there approach. But, either way, families generally pick the town and the house without ever thinking about their new neighborhood’s childcare personality.
And that’s a big mistake.
How childcare impacts a town
Think about it — you’re the working mom in a sea of SAHMs. Because the majority of moms are home, the activities, classes, teams, clubs, and sports are all oriented toward those families — and that makes it tricky for your kids to participate.
Or maybe you stay home and are, now, in a town that leans heavily on au pairs. Head to the park and you’re suddenly “the mom” surrounded by 19-year-old German-speaking au pairs — probably not your core social group. Not your plan? Then maybe everyone has a nanny and you opt for daycare. Those after-school playdates? They’re going to be very tricky to coordinate when your child is getting whisked off to daycare everyday — not ideal.
Understanding a town’s childcare personality
Childcare is a huge piece of the puzzle at Suburban Jungle, a real estate firm that encourages clients to discover a community’s pervasive childcare personality before deciding where they’ll call “home.” While there’s no right or wrong when it comes to childcare, most suburbs do have a style that pops to the top and, often, the social scene is oriented around that approach. If you don’t sync, you may wind up feeling on the outside looking in.
Before you start exploring, think about how your family is going to handle childcare post-move. With that in mind, you’ll be able to better pulse-check a town and determine which align and which don’t. Some easy ways to take the temperature?
- Who’s waiting at the bus stops and school pick-up lines?
- Who’s filling 16 Handles, the nearby bakery, or the local farmer’s market after school lets out?
- Who’s at the playground, the baseball field, and the swimming pool in the afternoon?
- Who’s strolling through downtown, babies and toddlers in tow?
Really focus on who seems to be handling the childcare duties and, more importantly, think about whether you could picture yourself and/or your kids in that mix. Because, at the end of the day, that’s what makes a town — you, your family, and how you feel in that community.
Some ADDITIONAL things to consider…
And, as you’re diving into the childcare scene, consider these additional factors that will weigh into your care situation as well as your family’s day-to-day:
- Does the school district offer busing? If not, do the school hours work with your schedule?
- Who is picking up after school? Dropping off in the a.m.? Does this mean you need a third car for a driving nanny or au pair? Keep in mind a nanny who drives typically costs more — and is harder to find — than one who doesn’t.
- Where will you find your childcare? What qualifications will your childcare provider need?
- If you opt for live-in help, where will she live? Do you have space for a live-in nanny or au pair? Or will she be too much a part of your family by sheer proximity?
What it means for YOU
Again, it’s important to start thinking about childcare before you settle on a suburb. This one simple detail could have a major impact on your transition from the city to suburbia. Granted, you might opt for a town that doesn’t sync with your childcare plan — and that’s fine, too! But at least you’ll go in eyes wide open and be able to navigate playdates, pickups, and the overall social scene like a pro.
The Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist, and to find the place your family truly fits in, visit www.suburbanjunglerealty.com and click GET STARTED.