future renter

WIKimSeptember 19, 2003

We will be moving to an appartment or townhouse in a mo. or so, we are building and selling so we need a middle house. Well I am afraid we will be the terrible neighbor, we have 3 kids who have never lived in an aprtment and are use to jumping and yelling, ect. We will do are best to minimize it but we are use to it too, so we might not "catch it" right away. Any suggestions? Maybe we should only look at 1st floor units? But most 3 bedrooms are on the upper floors around here. (at least the ones we have looked at)



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I think it would be nice if when you moved in, you went to your neighbors (especially any downstairs) and let them know your kids had never lived in an apartment before and although you would be trying your best to keep them pretty quiet, you know you'll miss a few times. Let your neighbors know that it's ok and you won't be offended if they call or come up and ask you to be a little more quiet.

Most people are pretty understanding and if they know that you're trying to keep the noise down and will be ok with them saying something if it's too loud, they might be less likely to get angry or resentful about it. Did that make sense?

You might also try taking your kids out to a park or someplace where they can run around and scream as much as they want. They might not 'need' to do it as much at home if they get a chance to do it at least some time and somewhere.

Unfortunately there's no way you can avoid 'bad neighbors'. Even if you meet everyone before you move in, there's no guarantee that those same people will be there the entire time you are. Just remember that you will be living close to someone and it will probably be more noisy that you're used to and it might not frustrate you as much.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 10:35AM
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also, it's probably a good idea in general to teach your kids not to jump and yell indoors. It's not really " inside" behavior anywhere. (do they truly run and yell indoors, or are you exaggerating slightly in your anxiety?) Start now, if you haven't already started.

Also, try to explain to your kids WHY they shouldn't jump and yell indoors. Make sure they see your downstairs neighbors as real people, with real homes and a genuine right not to have running and thumping over their heads.

I have a 5-y-o and a 9-y-o who have always lived over someone's head, in an apt. w/ thick walls and thin floors, no less.

We mention poor Charlie to them a lot. They even say "sorry, Charlie!" when they drop something. If there's a run across the floor, I point out that those thumps probaby sounded like an elephant to poor Charlie downstairs! It bleeds in.

As far as getting the discipline to stick; they CAN remember--those little brains are REALLY smart. You just have to react fast, and BIG. A long time-out after a really big run across the floor, for example, will send 2 messages, 1 to the kid, and 1 to anyone who was home downstairs when it happened.

And while they might start to move too fast because they haven't thought yet, if you can stop them w/ a "walking feet!" reminder or something, I think that's all you can ask.

Also, I don't know how long you're going to be there, but if people know you're only there 6 months, they can be patient.

Time of day makes a big difference, too. Lots of people are home only in the evenings or on the weekends, so you might try to get those times of day to become periods for quieter, less physical activities--toys get put away, sitting for dinner, sitting for stories, etc.

I agree w/ Jordyn's points, too.

Also, an apartment often is smaller than a house, and the floors might feel different; its actual physionomy will help you get the message across to your kids.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 1:23PM
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Yelling is not a big problem, but it happens. It is the jumping and running cuz they have the run of the basment family room and are use to playing, dancing, and running. I am sure they will "get" it but the first few weeks will be the problem and I want to bug the least amout of people during the learning curve. The kids are 9,5,and 3, so I know they will learn but when we go to a hotel we spend lots of time reminding them not to run and jump and bug the people below us. Letting any lower neighbors we are new to apt. living might be the thing to do.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 2:08PM
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Another thing is to take their shoes off indoors. This can make a big difference. I would strong recommend looking at ground floor units, which would prevent the problem in the first place. It also makes it easier for the kids to get outside to play. I don't know what your area is like--here it is possible to find apartments with a lot of lawn outside, so the kids can play in an area where you can see them from a window. But if they are playing outside, you still might need to monitor the noise level if they are near the building--you never know when someone works an night shift and sleeps during the day or someone has just gotten a baby to sleep.

Also, watch out for some toys. Certain pull toys make a lot of noise on bare floors, as do some balls, especially those made out of hard plastic. If you rent a place with un-carpeted floors, you should consider buying some cheap rugs to cover them--makes a world of difference to the people living below you.

Mind you, we lived in an apartment building when I was about two, and for some reason I took a dislike to a poor gentleman on the second floor, right under our apartment. Every time I went up or down the stairs, I started yelling as I reached his floor and didn't stop until I was on the next floor. Once I even took a hammer and pounded on the kitchen floor. This was military housing, and the guy was my father's commanding officer. Fortunately, he had kids of his own, and Dad had a long and sucessful career in spite of me.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2003 at 6:06PM
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The only thing I would add to everyone elses advise is this:

Make a list about apartment living rules, and then sit down with your family & talk with them about the rules & why they are important. Then, have your family practice them. If it's really hard, try a couple hours a day at first, then work up to longer times. This way, it won't be such a shock to them when moving time comes.

Try & make it into a game, that way it won't feel like so much work for the kids. Or maybe have contests. See who can go the longest without running in the house, or without making too much noise, etc. This gives the kids a chance to practice without worrying about neighbors, and gives you the chance to learn signals that let the kids know they're breaking apartment dwelling rules.

Most important of all, remember that you're all human. Like the aforementioned advice: explain to your neighbors ahead of time, and show sympathy toward your "Charlies" so your kids learn to empathise with them, and forgive yourselves when you forget. :-)

Good luck,

    Bookmark   September 24, 2003 at 3:22PM
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Most important of all, remember that you're all human. Like the aforementioned advice: explain to your neighbors ahead of time, and show sympathy toward your "Charlies" so your kids learn to empathise with them, and forgive yourselves when you forget. :-)

Thanks, Sonja! Words WIKIM needs to hear (in fact, words all of us conscientious apt. dwellers need to hear.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2003 at 3:29PM
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I bet if you ask the rental office they can hopefully pin point you to the apt section with kids...or at least have you move into a place where kids are under you or above you. We once moved into an apt in the metro parks...my (husband 28-ish) son was 3, I was 23-24...both of us kids! We were the only family there... all else were single or married w/o kids...we were not popular...."your son drew on the side walk with chalk."...yeah and your point?
Heck I even cleaned it up with buckets of water each time.
I would never ever move again w/o asking the neighbors how do you like it here...are there kids...the crime around here...etc.etc. I always ask around.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2003 at 6:28PM
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Oh, also, my kids go nuts in a hotel too, and they're used to not running in the house, etc. I'm not sure that's an accurate indicator (though you're smart to start preparing your family now).

    Bookmark   September 29, 2003 at 3:58PM
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One other suggestion - add a rug or two to the floors. Most apartments seem to have wall-to-wall carpet, and a second layer will do a lot of soundproofing. Use your own rugs, or buy an inexpensive carpet remnant.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2004 at 2:23AM
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Another point I thought I made but didn't, for anyone who finds this thread useful later:

a noise that starts and stops almost immediately (bcs mom intervened with "no runnign inside") is easier to overlook, and even perhaps to forget immediately, than one that lasts a long time.

So intervene quickly, and your neighbors downstairs will get the message that you're trying your best.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2004 at 3:47PM
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I have lived in modern construction apartments that had concrete/rebar floors. Then no one hears anything. Other places let in so much sound we could hear the neighbor going to the bathroom. I could hear him clear his throat when he woke up. Management will never tell the truth about soundproofing before you rent so it is good to ask if you can be put by other families with kids. Then definitely approach the other tenants as soon as possible and emphasize that you will not be there long term. Teach your kids to be extremely polite in front of the tenants, prompt the kids verbally in front of the tenants to let them know you are trying to be good. It really really helps. Whatever you do don't go in with a chip on your shoulder daring the neighbors to complain about your kids. That means war. It can escalate quickly. Every apartment I lived in had its nut cases. Maintenance told me about families putting their looney relatives up in apartments to keep them out of their hair. People with mental diabilities, substance abuse problems often live out their pensions in apartments. You never know when someone who just seemed obnoxious becomes scarey. After all it is only temporary and worth sacrificing a little for the long term

    Bookmark   January 8, 2004 at 11:43AM
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