When we made the decision to move out of the city, our children were at the forefront of our minds. What would their lives look like living rurally?
I grew up in a suburb north of Toronto and my husband in bustling London, England. Later on in life, we lived together for twelve years in the city of Toronto. I always envisioned one day living up north on a lake but it never crossed my mind to move to the country. Neither of us had any experience with country living.
What we would be leaving behind in Toronto was a desirable family-friendly neighbourhood, with great schools, parks, and endless activities. We had many concerns about moving, let alone to a completely different way of living.
Just like so many people, making the decision of where to raise our family was difficult. I know prior to making the move we had many questions and concerns.
The question “Is it better for children to grow up in the city or country?”, is an ongoing and endless debate. For those who are thinking of moving to the country, I won’t try to convince you that raising children in the country or in the city is truly better than the other. I really can’t give you a straight answer as this is very much a personal choice. What I can do is tell you a few things we’ve experienced living in the country over the past year and a half.
- Space – While children don’t need a lot of space, there is something to be said about watching them roam freely on our property and getting to explore right outside our front door. On our property alone they get to explore the woods, enjoy campfires, tend to the vegetable garden, catch frogs, ride bikes, toboggan down our hills in the winter, see a variety of wildlife right on our property and the list could go on.
- Quiet – We are loving being immersed in nature and the quiet that comes with rural living. Sitting outside listening to nothing other than the birds singing is so peaceful and enjoyed by us all. Our kids like to learn about the different birds and guess which sound belongs to each kind.
- Nature – Our kids spend so much of their time exploring outside. They are being exposed to nature more than they ever would be in the city. They get to see, touch, and learn about nature every day and they have so much compassion and care for all creatures and living things.
- Privacy – They can play outside without us worrying about traffic, or strangers approaching them. On the flip side, there’s some worry about potential animal encounters.
- School – Our kids go to a great school and have the ability to participate in many of the same activities that they would have had access to in the city. Their school is on a smaller scale which we view as a positive, it has a beautiful outdoor space that’s backed by trees and is on a quiet country road.
- Activities – We’ve yet to run out of things to do in our free time. Whether it’s a visit to the weekly markets, a sanctuary, a farm, a walk on one of the many trails, or just getting things done around our property, there are always exciting ways to spend our days.
I grew up in the suburbs where it was common to meet up with other kids in the area and play on the street just outside our house. We were concerned about how our kids would be with no other kids right next door like we had in the city. This is something our kids won’t be able to do, nor will they be able to walk to meet up with friends. So this type of thing is out of the question, but even with all that, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
We knew if we were going to leave our neighbourhood in the city it would need to be for something really special and where we ended up is just that. We decided that raising our kids in the country was the best decision for our family. Now that we are here and loving it we are so excited to raise our children (aged 4 and 6) amongst nature and with ample space to run, explore, and just enjoy being kids.
I thought it would be fun to get my kid’s perspective on our move from the city to the country. This is what they had to say:
“There’s more space here to play in the garden. We have a veggie garden here, we only had rhubarb when we were at our old house. It rains more here and it waters the plants and we have beautiful days.
It’s way better outside, we get to bicycle farther and we also get to look for more eggs on easter around the property.
I like that we’re not far from the school.” 😊
So here we are, almost 1.5 years later, very much settled into our new rural life. Each day we are here, the benefits of the move become more clear. Having now lived in the suburbs, city, and country, hands down my preference is for life in the country. We ended up choosing a very different unfamiliar path for our kid’s upbringing and we feel that we have made the best choice for our family. Our kids are thriving in this new rural environment. This lifestyle has quickly become their new normal and we all have adapted so well.
Are you considering a move to the country with your children? Do you have any concerns? If so, leave a comment as I would love to hear about it.