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Kids in Cohousing

-NC Girls Relaxing with food & drink .jp
Doyle Street in Emeryville. Credit Drew

Why raise children in Cohousing?

A memo about raising children in cohousing
By CoHousing Solutions President, Katie McCamant

Sitting on the back deck, summer evening, listening to the birds in the swale, kids in the pool, sunlight fading… It seems living in cohousing is pretty much kid paradise.

“Our” kids at Nevada City Cohousing, like most American kids, go off to a variety of schools (local, public, charter, home school), but in cohousing, they enjoy a level of freedom and safety few Americans do today. We have about 35 kids, ranging in age from babies to the occasional returning college student. The kid culture is one of acceptance and inclusion of all ages. That didn’t just happen; that happened because we have a lot of very proactive parents who helped establish a healthy kid culture from the beginning.

When “our" kids get home, all they have to do to find entertainment is walk around the community. Who’s out? Any kids playing on the central walkway? Anyone in the common house? No kids, but neighbor Joannie asks me to help her set the tables for the community meal. She generally has good cookies at her house; good to keep her happy. Then back to the central walkway where now a kickball game is starting…

My fondest memories of childhood often started as one of those really booorrrriinnng days when a couple of us hung out under the willow trees and made mud huts in the swale bottom, staying cool on a hot summer day. I suspect our cohousing kids will be some of the few modern American kids that will have memories like that too.

Cohousing offers so many great opportunities for kids. Just to name a few…

  • There are other kids of all different ages around…like a big old fashion family.

  • Other trusted adults with different interests are easily accessible. For example, George is glad to show interested kids how to use tools to build something in the workshop, and Julie can help with Spanish homework.

  • No need for pre-arranged play dates, requiring driving to get to them.

  • Growing up in a culture that values inclusion and treating people with respect.

  • Feeling safe, surrounded by people that know and care about you.

  • Greater freedom because we live in a safe place, so small kids can roam the community without cause for concern, and teenagers aren’t totally isolated when they’re home alone.

Who wouldn’t want to have this kind of environment for their kids? I’m glad I did!​

Does Co-housing Provide a Path to Happiness for Modern Parents?

The Case For Cohousing: Where Responsibilities Are Shared And Life Is A Little Less Lonely

The New York Times: Stressed, Tired, and Rushed; A Portrait of the Modern Family

Chronogram: Extending the Family

My Cohousing Life: Children in Cohousing

Smart Cities Dive: How To Build a City for Children

The Guardian: Children Should Be Free to Play, Not Prisoners of Their Homes

Mother Earth Living: Raising Kids in Cohousing Communities

Sacramento Parent: Is a Cohousing Community Right for You? 

Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing Rooftop Gar
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