Renting is something that often seems to get a bit of a bad rap, especially where young children are involved. It seems that the Australian Dream has to include individuals owning their own house, and therefore renting is often viewed as a less-superior alternative.
Now, I’m not about to suggest that moving house with children in tow is enjoyable or even easy because we all know that isn’t true. But I’ve been renting for twelve years now and I think it’s time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Once you can get past the whole “not owning a house” thing, I really believe there are many benefits to renting a house while raising children.
It broadens children’s scope of living
The same excitement that children experience when they discover a new playground is similar to the sense of awe and wonder that moving to a different area brings. Every new rental property comes with new things to discover and it widens a child’s grasp about their living environment.
Having just moved house again recently, one of the first things that my daughters were excited to do was go for a walk/scoot around the neighbourhood to see what was around.
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It encourages children to adapt and be flexible
Learning to adapt to new environments and living arrangements is good for a child’s resilience. It teaches them flexibility skills and it encourages problem solving. Because in life, there are going to be situations that occur that will be out of our children’s control and teaching them ways to manage is an important lesson.
I know that when I had to help my six year old work through some of her feelings about things not being the same as they were before, she realised that change wasn’t always a bad thing.
It promotes the importance of people – not stuff
We have moved house six times over the last 12 years which seems like a lot, I realise. Another important lesson that has stuck with my daughters over our time as renters is that at the end of the day, it isn’t stuff that matters; it’s family.
It really doesn’t matter what type of house we live in, because we will manage either way. What really matters is that we have each other. Teaching children to place greater emphasis on experiences and people rather than on things is something that is very valuable.
It teaches children to be responsible
One of the trickier parts of renting a house is that when damage occurs, it isn’t a simple matter of just fixing it yourself – the landlord needs to be notified. This is probably one of the things I like about renting the most – that incidental damages, faults or problems which may occur do not have to be resolved out of our own pockets.
With this in mind though, because we don’t own the house and it isn’t ours to break, it has actually taught my children to be super-responsible because it feels pretty embarrassing to have to explain poor behaviour resulting in damage to someone else.
Rental inspections can be the motivation you need to, well … actually clean
Now, while I don’t really relish in the idea of being ‘judged’ on my housekeeping skills by a relative stranger who comes into my home to check on how things are going, rental inspections aren’t all bad. They can actually be just the motivation I need to get cleaning.
It’s not like my house is ever a poor state of affairs, really. But rental inspections actually encourage me to get some of the crappier jobs done, like cleaning the oven and getting my husband to give the shower a thorough scrub-out and tend to the lawns. It always feels lovely being in a freshly-cleaned house … even if it does take about ten seconds for my children to undo most efforts. *insert face palm*
I have no doubt that being a home-owner comes with many benefits and is a decision that makes a lot of people happy. But right now, and for a long time now – renting is absolutely the option that works best for my family. It definitely is not all bad, at all. In fact, the reality is quite awesome.