Is It Hard to Live in a Condo or Apartment With Kids?

Updated on April 14, 2020
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin has been living with her two small children in condos since they her first was born five years ago.


From the birth of our first daughter, over five years ago, my husband and I have either lived with family, in a townhome and now in our own condo—which is to say that we've always shared space, in some capacity, with others all while trying to raise two noisy, busy little kids.

When we set out to buy our first home two years ago, I only had one piece of solid criteria to go by: No condos. My reasons were many, mainly that I didn't want to deal with neighbors so close by while trying to bring up small kids. Did I mention yet that we homeschool? Having a space for my girls to learn, play, and run around was really important to me. But as we began to look, I realized a lot of other things were important to me too—being in a safe neighborhood, living in a home that wasn't old and in need of repairs we couldn't afford, and having a driveway we wouldn't have to dig our way out of six months out of the year up here in northern Michigan. Oh, and we had to find something under $200,000, which in our area is becoming nearly impossible.

As we went along, the scope of what we could afford dwindled down to a handful of historic homes that had rotting basements or were 15+ miles from the city proper where my husband works and where we spend most of our spring and summer evenings playing in the parks and visiting family.

Things weren't looking so good until my mother, from the next room over and possibly just as desperate as I was to move my family and I along on our homeownership journey, texted me a photo of a condo just three miles from the city limits. It was a stones throw away from the house my best friend from high school grew up in, in an area that I knew was pretty wholesome. Most importantly though, it fell exactly in our price range, a rare find in our tourist town with a serious housing crisis. I reluctantly agreed to go check it out with her and by the next day we'd put our offer in.

In all reality, if I'd known all of the idiosyncrasies of bringing up little kids in such close quarters to our neighbors, I might have stuck to my original plan of avoiding condos. But I'm glad I didn't. As for the majority of us, I couldn't have found my dream home without living another person's very wealthy life, but this place checks off almost all of the boxes I wanted in our first home. Still, there's a certain art to keeping kids safe, calm and entertained in a condo. Here's what I've learned and what you'll want to consider before settling on your own.

Cons of Living in a Condo, Apartment or Townhome with Kids

It's always been in my nature to start with the less-than-stellar news first.

Your Neighbors Can Absolutely Hear You

In the condo my husband and I purchased, we're on the main level. We don't have shared halls, so, like a townhome we have our own front patio and front and back doors which is great. However, we do share walls on either side of us as and we have an upstairs neighbor too.

Last year, while small talking my neighbor, she mentioned that she was pretty worried we could hear her coughing through the walls thanks to her summer allergies. I adamantly lied that I couldn't and then apologized if she could hear my children who, let's face it, we're getting reamed out almost hourly for doing death-defying stunts like standing on the kitchen table and ramming themselves against the glass of our French doors. She sheepishly admitted that she could absolutely hear my children then quickly blurted out, "But I feel so bad for you because raising kids in a condo is really rough."

You're telling me, lady.

Unless You're Living in a Penthouse, Space Is Tight

Besides being close in with our neighbors, our little family is pretty squashed into our two bedroom home, though thank God, we're privileged with two bathrooms, which helped things immensely last week when 3/4ths of us came down with a 12-hour stomach bug.

Still, our home is compact and we've had to be thoughtful about putting it all together in a way that doesn't feel cramped and overburdened with toys while still creating a space where our daughters can create, play, and imagine. This means that while we mostly keep the toys organized, our home resembles a daycare. There's not one room that doesn't contain toys and since we don't have any extra rooms in our open-floor plan, our dining/living area is also the school room. Likewise, our girls are sharing a bedroom.

People Get Up in Your Business

Now, I don't have a lot of business. I'm a pretty straightforward lady. I've got a home to take care of, two kids to care for, and work projects between all of that. However, handling any one of those things can be taxing, handling all three with neighbors on top and all around me means that, especially in the warmer months, there's always a handful of neighbors milling about, walking or lounging in the shared outdoor space and coming in and out their doors which are right next to my kid's bedroom window.

The sense of privacy you might take for granted in a home with say, a fenced in yard, or some space between you and the next neighbor is gone. More than once I've had a neighbor come to my door to let me know they're spraying the yard for bugs and not to let the kids outside to play, or to bring me their phone number "just in case" or just to chit chat. On the one hand this is great if you're a murderino like me. I kinda love that my neighbors take notice of us, since I'm home alone with my kids often. If something happened to us, they'd be quick to notice!

However, if we're not dressed before 10 AM, or if the kid's closet has magically exploded and their curtains are wide open, or if I've failed to check the door for a mountain of packages, my neighbors are definitely also noticing that stuff.

Pros of Living in a Condo, Apartment or Townhome with Kids

There's always a bright side!

I Don't Have to Worry About Maintaining Anything Outside My Home

And it's amazing. With all that I have going on inside our house, I'm so grateful that my husband doesn't have to shovel his way out of our driveway each morning or that I don't have rake the yard up before my kids go out back to play. When you live in a condo, townhome, or apartment, those things are taken care of by the management or association, saving you time and energy for other things. And when you have kids, there's not a lot of time or energy to go around.

I didn't think about this added bonus before we moved in, but now I'm honestly not sure how we'd handle all of that outdoor maintenance with how busy we are at this stage in our lives.

We've Saved a Lot of Money by Living in a Condo

I know this isn't true for all condos, but by choosing a newer condo over an older home (which run about the same price where I live), we've saved a lot of money on maintenance and repairs.

We were also able to live a lot closer to town than if we had purchased a newer home in the same price range, which means we save on gas, groceries and utilities (which is all cheaper in town).

Also, because we're sharing so many walls with our neighbors, our heat bill is pretty low during the fall and winter as there aren't as many ways for the heat to escape.

It's Nice to Be Near Other People

Growing up, my family and I lived in the middle of the woods in a home that was fairly isolated and to be honest, it was kind of creepy, especially when my dad was away for work.

As I said before, I like knowing that if something happened, I could walk out my front door and have three other doors in front of me to bang on.

I also don't notice as many bumps in the night since I'm used to hearing a steady hum of living noises around me. It helps me feel less isolated with my kids when their dad is working overtime.

Tips & Tricks for Living in a Condo, Apartment or Townhome with Kids

Give Your Kids a Chance to Be Noisy and Hyper

When it's too hot or too cold to play outside I have my kids jump on my king sized bed to pop music streamed through Spotify. It helps burn off some serious energy and if we do it in the middle of the day, most neighbors are at work or at least awake
When it's too hot or too cold to play outside I have my kids jump on my king sized bed to pop music streamed through Spotify. It helps burn off some serious energy and if we do it in the middle of the day, most neighbors are at work or at least awake | Source

Tips for Living in a Condo With Kids

  • If your kids have to share a bedroom, invest in a daybed with a trundle or bunk beds, depending on what works best for your family. Our girls have a daybed with a trundle. Even though they're usually snuggled up like kittens in the same bed, they have the option to sleep in their own bed if they want to and in the morning I just tuck the trundle under the daybed to make room in their bedroom for playtime.
  • Try to find a ground floor unit. This is a huge one for me. First, I need to be able to get my kids outside when the weather is nice. It's a lot simpler to just open up the back slider and sit on the patio while they play than it would be to drag them up and down stairs. Also, having a balcony with kids would really freak me out.
  • Get your kids into a routine. If your kids are in school this is probably going to be a lot easier! If your kids are homeschooled like mine or if they're still too young to go to school, you'll have to get more creative. A routine keeps the noise down and helps deter temper tantrums that I'm sure my neighbors don't particularly enjoy. It also helps my kids to understand that there's very specific times of day that we use our "quiet inside voices"—before 8 AM and after 7 PM.
  • Take your kids out of the house to get their wiggles out so they'll be quieter at home. This is easy for us during the warmer months when we're busy at the park, beach or playing tourist in our own town, but during the harsh winter months it's a little trickier. If you have family nearby with a big yard for sledding or a basement for running around and playing, utilize it! We live just down the road from a lengthy trail system that we've been using as a backyard to run our kids (and our dog) when the temps are above 30 degrees.
  • Get a museum or play area membership. If you have a place like this nearby, invest in a membership so you can take your kids to run, jump, and play outside the confines of your home.
  • Put up dark curtains. Living so close to everyone else's front door means that if someone has their porch lights on, it shines right into our bedroom windows. I bought dark curtains for all of our windows so outside light coming from other homes doesn't keep my kids up late or wake them up too early.
  • Use your screen time wisely. I try to save screen time for early in the morning and then before bedtime - the two times when they're most likely to be going bonkers with noise and the two times when neighbors are least likely to appreciate said noise.
  • Speaking of screens, make sure your kids know the acceptable volume level for the TV.
  • Keep noisy toys up in a bin and bring them out during the middle of the day when most people are at work or school.
  • Keep toys with lots of pieces up and away so only one bin can be brought down at a time. This isn't a noise issue, just a simple way to keep messes from getting out of control in a small space. My kids have tons of Legos and Calico Critters AKA the tiniest toys on the planet. To keep our quaint home from being overrun, we bring one bin out at a time and make sure it's all cleaned up before the next bin comes down.

Find Space for Outside Toys

We can't keep anything in our backyard permanently, however we have a folding trampoline, slide, kiddie pool and collapsible tent that we store inside to bring out on nice days!
We can't keep anything in our backyard permanently, however we have a folding trampoline, slide, kiddie pool and collapsible tent that we store inside to bring out on nice days! | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Kierstin Gunsberg


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      16 months ago from Germany and Philippines

      Great tips! You reminded me of my young life living in a small apartment with my husband and our very active son. It was tough but I was glad the neighbors were not nosy. I had to bring my small son every afternoon, for a few hours, to a playground so he could play until he got tired of playing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Angel Guzman profile image

      Angel Guzman 

      17 months ago from Joliet, Illinois

      Very insightful article. I bought a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom home with a big yard. Has a basement and an attic too for $123,250. Its tough finding something affordable now most of the bargains are gone. Good tips with kids. I have two myself.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)