When school’s in session, the household’s schedule changes.
Any busy family knows that during the school year, time must be used efficiently to make sure kids are prepared for each day of learning and that they get to school on time and are picked up and driven to any extracurricular activities. None of this accounts for the time it takes to make breakfast and dinner and help kids with homework. Whew!
How can families find relief? A new home!
While a new home may not be able to complete that experiment for the school science fair that’s due tomorrow, a new home is ideally suited to help busy families keep things organized and neat because of functional features. Any busy family can appreciate these four new-home features: 1) functional kitchen islands, 2) mudrooms, 3) laundry rooms on the first and second floors and 4) conveniently placed new-home communities with kid-friendly amenities.
The Family That Kitchens Together
Let’s take the kitchen, a hub for the family on a busy weekday or a lazy weekend. A large kitchen island is ideal for families, says Jeff Benach, co-principal of Lexington Homes, because this useful feature can help families multitask.
“The whole family benefits when kids have a space where they can easily spread out with projects and worksheets and parents can be within earshot to provide homework help while also keeping dinner on track,” Benach said in a recent news release.
When choosing a countertop surface for your kitchen island, make sure to choose a material that will be easy to clean, but will still look nice. Hardworking materials like quartz or laminate can provide budget-friendly durability, but will still look stylish too.
A Place for Shoes, Bags, Coats
Search no more for single shoes or important homework under a bed or in a closet. Many new homes feature a mudroom, usually right off the entrance from the garage or close to a door, that has dedicated spaces to store shoes, bags, coats and more.
A mudroom is vital to helping families keep clutter out of the rest of the home and helping them stay organized, says Brian Hoffman, an executive with Northbrook, Ill.-based Red Seal Homes.
“Kids are prone to dropping everything the minute they set foot in the house after school, so parents love having a great mudroom where each child has a designated place to put their backpack, coat and other gear where it will be easy to find the next morning,” Hoffman said in the news release.
“Because we understand just how important this functional feature is for families, we actually give buyers of our single-family homes an allowance for finishing their mudroom,” he added.
An ideal mudroom will have cabinets and cubbies for storing items, but will also have a bench so kiddos can sit while taking shoes off or putting them on. Other storage provides space for items such as important documents, keys, cell phones and other items that can be easily lost throughout the home. A message board, whether a dry erase board, chalkboard or a cork board, can help remind family members of important dates like doctor’s appointments, sporting events and birthdays.
Laundry Rooms are the Best Friend You Never Knew You Had
Kids go through so, so many clothes. Which means piles and piles of laundry to deal with. Again, a new home won’t actually do the laundry for you, but two laundry rooms is a feature you never knew you wanted. If you are building a two-story home and have school-aged children, absolutely consider putting a laundry room on the first and second floors.
“Most of our buyers love the convenience of a second-floor laundry room for their regular laundry, but many families are also dealing with sports uniforms, gym clothes and even muddy or wet snow gear that their kids bring home from school to wash every day,” said Ken Fixler, president of Northbrook, Ill.-based builder Barnett Homes, in the news release. “Having another laundry area, especially near the mudroom, allows parents to handle those bulky and often extra-dirty items separately, without carrying them through the house to the second-floor laundry room. Plus, it keeps those items organized where kids won’t forget them as they head out the door in the morning.”
Location, Location, Location
Another new-home feature that benefits families with kids is the community. New-home communities often feature amenities like parks, community centers, pools and more. If you have an active child (and, who doesn’t?), the plethora of amenities that will keep your children active and outside will help you stay sane and help kids stay healthy.
Some communities are offering resort-style amenities, such as learning labs at Houston’s Meridiana and community gardens, that will keep kids active both physically and intellectually. Don’t forget to see which communities are located near top school districts to ensure you’re close to quality schools.
Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for NewHomeSource, the Associated Press, New Mexico magazine and the Texas Bar Journal. When not writing, she can be found in the garden, battling weeds and high-desert heat.