Looking at my surroundings while sitting on a bench in one of the 4 parks carefully placed all over my huge suburban neighborhood, I feel pretty lucky to call Chicago home. Lush with greenery and the squeals of kids just being kids, I never imagined in a million years that I’d call Chicago a family-friendly city that would fit in with my needs. But here I am -happy and content.
You see I lived in New York most of my life. I loved everything about it up until I had children. If you think living in a huge urban city like New York is challenging as an adult, you wouldn’t believe how much harder it becomes when you have little ones. The problems around us just became magnified tenfold and my husband and I just knew that we had to make a big move.
Of course, millions of people all over the country manage to raise kids in the city just fine. But for us, the concerns were big enough to make suburbanization eye-catching. We’d have settled down anywhere in the country, but we picked Chicago as a family-friendly city for several reasons.
Firstly, the decision to settle down with our kids in Chicago was easy as my husband is a Chicago native. After having been regaled with wonderful tales of his childhood, I knew that I wanted our kids to have similar experiences.
Here are the top reasons why Chicago is a family-friendly city
The City Is Affordable
The pace in Chicago is also just different. Houses are bigger but more affordable. The high cost of living in New York was also a primary motivator. We were constantly battling with the high cost of living and it was taking quite a toll on our finances and relationship.
Sure, we bumped into a few stories here and there regarding the public school system during our research phase. However, let me remind you that public schools are struggling everywhere, not just in Chicago. That’s just the nature of government-funded programs and ventures. So what other reasons make Chicago a great city to raise kids?
Childcare Is More Accessible
If you are on the lookout for more affordable childcare, then you are more likely to find it in Chicago. In some states, childcare is a considerable portion of the bill that they have to pay. It now costs more to put your kid in daycare than it does to pay the rent or mortgage. As such, the affordable daycare in Chicago was an immediate motivation booster for us to make the move.
The daycare centers and options are varied. You have many affordable selections available. But if you do not mind paying a little more for a childcare center with a low child/caretaker ration, as well as a range of activities for the tots-from yoga to sign language and even webcam feeds so that you can check in on your kids.
The Neighbourhoods Have So Much To Offer
The amenities available in the neighborhood that we chose to settle down in also helped us make our decision with ease. When my son was little, he would absolutely hate being in his car seat. As such, when we were looking for great neighborhoods in Chicago to call home, a walkable neighborhood with amenities to walk to was non-negotiable.
And there is so much that my neighborhood has to offer. We have 3 different parks, a church, a City Hall within walking distance, a coffee shop, a donut shop, and several restaurants within reach. I’m in love with it. Not only does having these amenities within walking distance helped to establish a more active and healthier mindset for our kids, but I love the bonding time.
Our little walks gave us plenty of opportunities during the early months of our move to meet and chat with neighbors. This brings me to my next point, the sense of community.
The Community Is Great
In the many years that we called New York home, I can count on one hand the number of times that I interacted with one of my neighbors. My new Chicago neighborhood, in contrast, is full of friends and neighbors that actually go out of their way to interact with us. And it all started when we drove down to see our newly purchased home.
Usually, buying a home is a business transaction that impersonal, where the seller and buyer do not interact at all, as the real estate company coordinates everything. However, in our case, the seller requested for our contact information and personally reached out to us to help coordinate the move. She didn’t have to, but she did.
After moving in, we had neighbors drop by every day for a month bringing us home warming and welcome to the neighborhood gifts. I love living in Chicago because my family and I are now part of a close-knit community, an active church, and a healthy work environment.
Safety Is Easy & Tangible
Above all else, we picked our Chicago neighborhood because it was safe, which was an especially big concern for us. I feel safe in my new neighborhood and a lot of it has to do with the flurry of community activity. Our neighbors do not isolate themselves but rather, they are always outside playing with their kids, working in the yard, or just having a chat with other neighbors.
In other words, what I’m saying is that there are always lots of eyes on the street which has made it easier to feel safe. An added benefit of the increased outdoor activity is that it has also resulted in slower speeds for cars, which means that kids can play outside or in the front yard.
These are just a few of the reasons why Chicago is a family-friendly city. Having a home in Chicago guarantees you access to great music, art, theater, and more, all of which are within walking distance of your home. If these reasons above aren’t enough to convince you to move to Chicago, perhaps the affordable real estate will compel you to finally make the move.