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How to Choose a Home Your Kids Will Love to Visit

There are a number of reasons why a single adult might be looking for a new multi-bedroom home. Perhaps you like to host parties with friends who stay the night, or you’re a retiree hoping to keep a few guest bedrooms for visiting family. Others simply like the spaciousness of having a variety of rooms to work with. However, as most of us know, the number one reason is divorce and separation. This is so commonplace that a child with parents who are still together now seems more unusual than the classic nuclear family. Whether the split with your spouse was a friendly mutual agreement or there’s still a few hurt feelings in the air, the one thing you can always agree on is the wellbeing of the children you made together.

It’s even become perfectly normal to agree the other parent is better suited for full-time custody, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still want quality time with your children, and the best way to achieve this is with a welcoming home they can consider their second permanent residence. This only begs the question; how do you choose a house your kids will love to visit?

Ask What Your Children Want in a House
For many parents who see their children on weekends, holidays, summer or alternating weeks, you’re still house-hunting like a parent. This will be your home all the time, but it’s also where you will be doing your portion of raising the kids. So, naturally, you want them to be happy in your new place. Instead of guessing what they might want, actually get your kids involved. Get out a piece of paper and ask them to list everything that would be fun in a house. Write everything down, including the banister slide and secret compartments, then ask them to help you refine into things they think can actually be found in an existing house rather than one custom-built to play in. You might be surprised how practical their realistic suggestions can get, and it will give you an insight on their real living priorities.

Personalized Private Rooms
Of course, the key to making a child feel welcome anywhere, even in an underground bunker, is to give them their very own room. Children of divorce often find themselves sleeping on couches and day-beds when visiting and this can make them feel a little like interlopers in their own parent’s life. Instead, make sure there is a private space for the kids, either a shared bedroom or individual rooms for each child. Once you move in, take the time to personalize. Put their names on the doors, decorate in their favorite colors, and make sure some of their old favorite toys find a home in your new house.

Big Sunny Windows
Kids may not realize how much they care about sunlight, but it does make a huge difference. Classic “bachelor pads” often feature heavy curtains and dimly lit ‘man caves’ (even for single ladies on the short end of the custody stick). This dark den-like room design can be pretty intimidating and unwelcoming for children who aren’t used to it. If you’re a night-owl who tends to avoid the sun on principle, be sure to find a place with big sunny windows and install curtains that can be pulled back for daylight play time.

A Backyard or Nearby Park
Children also need a place to run around, play and shriek happily without bothering anyone. Full-sized homes often feature enough yard for a game of catch or some recreational raking. However, if you’re in a more urban setting considering a townhouse or condo, just make sure there’s a nearby park that’s safe to walk to so your kids can go play outside when they’re feeling rowdy.

Plenty of Outlets
Of course, modern children also have an entirely different set of entertainment needs: electronics. From phones and hand-held gaming devices to consoles, DVDs and video streaming, it’s important that your new place have more outlets than an 18th-century cottage, especially in the living room and the children’s room.

Let Them Help You Move In
Finally, the key to making your children feel truly at home when visiting your new house is to make sure they are a part of your move-in process. If at all possible, have the kids over on the weekend you move in or while you’re still unpacking boxes and let them help you unpack and place things. Let them choose furniture positions or even help you select new furniture if you’re short on couches, chairs, and tables for the space. The more your children are involved in the set-up, the more personal ownership and inclusion they will feel.

Whether your kids are toddlers or teenagers, it’s important for a parent with visitation rights to make their children feel at home in their new home. Are you looking for a new home in Orange County, Long Beach or the Los Angeles metro area? Brandywine Homes is opening six new communities this year offering a combined 265 single-family homes and townhomes. Click here for more information.