There are plenty of fun family activities to do with the kids, but the kids don’t always want to hang out with mom and dad. Most of the time, they’d prefer to hang out with their buddies, whether online playing video games, chilling at someone’s house, or playing around the neighborhood.
But, some parents worry about letting their kids loose around the neighborhood no matter the time of year. They don’t think the area is safe, or at least not child-friendly. Whether it’s a bad reputation, neglected space, or unfamiliarity, an absence of child-friendly spaces means your kids never get to experience their childhood the way you did.
So, what are the benefits of a child-friendly neighborhood, and how can you work with your child and other parents to make the neighborhood as child-friendly as possible?
Benefits of a Child-Friendly Neighborhood
A lack of opportunities around the neighborhood increases the chances of delinquent behavior, so if you want to stop your kids from acting out because they are bored and want to entertain themselves, child-friendly spaces are ideal. If you, other parents, and committees can identify where to improve your neighborhood, you will reduce the teen crime rate, as your kids will find a way to keep busy, rather than entertain themselves in other ways.
There are few things better than friends unexpectedly dropping by on their bikes to go on an adventure. This doesn’t happen as often anymore, though, which is why kid-friendly neighborhoods can help your children create fond memories. By designing better spaces, trails, and parks, your kids will have more of an excuse to go out and play during the summer and create memories that they will remember forever.
Not only will the improved area benefit your kids, as it will allow them to make friends, especially if you have just moved to the neighborhood, but it can also benefit the parents. They will feel their kids are safe, and it will give them the chance to meet other parents. Furthermore, a neighborhood that shows the resourcefulness to improve its space could put itself on the map for better funding, allowing you to improve the space even more.
How to Make the Neighborhood Child Friendly
Make The Area Safe
Safety is essential and serves as the cornerstone of building a child-friendly neighborhood. Parents want to feel comfortable when their kids are going to the park or even playing at the edge of the driveway in the middle of the summer.
There are many ways to make the area safe, too. This often begins with improving the lighting, as dark and dingy alleyways or streets can make people feel uneasy. Neighborhood Watch programs are also useful, although they are not as common as they once were. Building a sense of community where everyone knows everyone else can benefit the neighborhood, so don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to your neighbors and put names to faces.
Transform Abandoned Areas
While you may have spent your childhood years playing at the park or exploring mysterious but perfectly safe woodland, these areas are not as accessible in the modern world. As the years go by, maintenance funding disappears, and this means that fewer people will care about it. Eventually, the area becomes an eyesore, but no one knows what to do about it.
If you can transform these areas, even by simply clearing away debris and tidying them up, you can make the space more accommodating to your kids and other kids in the neighborhood. Children have vivid imaginations, so as long as you remove anything that could hurt them, they can use it. The more they use it, the easier it will be to convince others to return the space, whether a basketball court or play park, to its former glory.
Offer After School Activities
If your kids seem bored and restless after school, consider how the neighborhood community can work together to keep them entertained. The school may offer after-school activities, but it also might not, so ask whether you and other parents could band together to give the kids something to do.
Sports clubs are always a great way to get kids together, so you can start a football team if you have the field space. Otherwise, batting cages can teach kids the basics of baseball, and you don’t even need to start a team. A few hours at the cage can wear your kids out enough to prevent any restlessness, and you’ll know where they are the entire time.
Use Social Media
It can be challenging to get everyone together to transform an area with potential, and this is why social media is so effective. Rather than going door to door, you can contact other parents around the neighborhood and arrange playdates or activities.
This is a great way to get the kids to hang out with each other, especially if they are a little shy. You won’t need to use social media all the time, because the kids should eventually take charge themselves. But you as a parent may need to give them a nudge in the right direction.
Everyone is busy. You have work and household chores and childcare to deal with, so you don’t have time to supervise your kids if they want to do something.
The good news is that you don’t need to, not all the time, anyway. Instead, you can share supervision responsibilities with other parents. This ensures there is at least one adult present when the kids are playing and can ensure their safety wherever they are.
Their Space Too
You have many fond memories of growing up around your old neighborhood. You played with friends; you went on adventures; you made discoveries and then came home in time for dinner. Many parents complain that kids don’t spend enough time outside anymore, but this is often because the typical spaces have fallen into disrepair. The adults have not fought to maintain them, so take a step back and stop blaming the kids. Parents must try to improve these spaces and give their kids the chance to enjoy the neighborhood the same way they did.