Is There a “Right” Time to Leave The City?

mother and daughter gardening

Face it—there’s no “right” time to leave the city for suburbia. Many families put pressure on themselves to get out on some predetermined timeline in their mind—a timeline that, often, they cooked up years ago before, even, kids had entered the picture.

But once you’re actually staring down a suburban move, things start to look a lot different. Maybe you swore you’d be out before baby but, now, you’ve got two toddlers running around your tiny two-bedroom apartment. Or maybe you planned to stay through kindergarten, but are now not so sure about holding out that long. Should you go now? Or hang tight? Or get out before baby/preschool/”big kid” school? And, really, is there a “best” time to move—a time that will help your family transition and ensure your kids are settled stat?

First things first: There’s no PERFECT time

The short answer? There’s no perfect time to move. Many parents aim to have their kids out of the city and settled in suburbia before some deadline—before preschool, before kindergarten, before they’re born, even. But it’s important to, first, assess your family, their lifestyle and their needs as you’re creating your suburban timeline. Maybe mom is planning to transition to a more flex schedule next year—for now, though, she’s got long days and adding a substantial commute just doesn’t make sense. Or, maybe, grandma is right around the corner — and happy to pick up at preschool every day.

Moving to the ‘burbs might be high on your list but, at the same time, waiting a few months or even a few years could make the most sense. And, in some cases, the reverse is true. Grandma might want to watch the twins—but she’s in suburbia. Or you or your spouse could have the opportunity to transfer to the New Jersey office—but you’d have to go now. Being open to your current circumstances and rolling with those punches in key. No one wants to feel forced out of the city and, at the same time, no one wants to feel stuck in the city.

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Why Babies and Cities are a Perfect Fit

All of that said, there are definitely times that the city seems like a good fit—specifically, the baby years. When you’ve got a newborn, having all of the access and convenience is a huge plus. Need diapers? Step outside and you’ve got a million options within a block—or hop online, order them and have them delivered in an hour. Same goes for just about anything you could possibly need in a pinch—groceries, formula, pet food and the endless list of must-haves for new mamas.

And those go-tos aren’t the only city convenience. Playgroups, mom meetups, mom-and-me yoga classes and an endless list of activities, amenities and new mom friends are never more than steps away. Just sit at a local coffee shop for an hour on a weekday—chances are you’ll encounter at least a few moms out and about with their little ones.

In suburbia? Not so much. While the ‘burbs have plenty of amazing activities for young families, you’ll likely be in a house tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Chances are you’ll have to do a little more digging to figure out who’s who and what’s what before you can really dive in. And those emergency diaper runs? Get ready to pack baby up, jump in the car and drive around looking for a drugstore open early on Sunday morning, or late on Tuesday night, or…

Preschool + Suburbia = a great match

One of the best times we’ve found to make a move? The preschool years. During the preschool years, kids are getting social—and so are their parents. Birthday parties aren’t “drop off” yet, and playdates require one or both parents. And besides that, school days are short and still require a ton of parental participation—which, though tough on your schedule, means you’ll rub elbows with loads of moms and dads from orientation on. This can be a major boost for your family’s suburban introduction and integration.

Lots of parents opt to stick it out in the city through preschool and get their children set for kindergarten in the ‘burbs. While it makes sense especially with the increase in UPK programs, making friends in “big kid school” can be trickier. Kindergarten tends to be full-day and many have buses to bring kids to and from school. And, while you’ll still have chances to get involved in kindergarten, it’s not the same as preschool—chances are, you’ll only be in the classroom with other parents a handful of times, giving you fewer opportunities to socialize. Layer in more and more drop-off parties around six years old, and kindergarten can be a trickier time to get in the mix.

So…when should we move?

At the end of the day, there’s no one right answer — though, for many families, the preschool years seem to be a perfect fit. Give some serious thought to your family, your unique needs and any major changes on the horizon and see what makes sense. Don’t worry—the suburbs aren’t going anywhere.

girl kissing her nanny
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Suburban Jungle is an award-winning firm that specializes in moving families from urban to suburban. The company’s innovative “town first” approach helps buyers find the right suburb for their family based on personality and lifestyle, not just the house. Services are FREE and fully customized to each family and their unique journey. To learn more and to connect with a Suburbs Strategist and find the place your family truly fits in visit and click GET STARTED.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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