Whether you have school age-children or are planning to start a family, location is an important consideration for student parents. In addition to finding an apartment, you will need to consider where your children will go to daycare or school, whether the area is popular with other young families, and whether you will have easy access to playgrounds, your pediatrician, and family-friendly activities. Here are our tips for renting with children.
Take schools into consideration
For families with young children, local school options may determine where you choose to live. Will your child attend a public school? If so, students are assigned to a school based on their home address. Can you afford a private school? If so, how will your child get to school?
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) begin classes in late August, but registration takes place over the summer. Moving or securing housing earlier in the summer will help in the enrollment process because public school attendance is based on your address. You can use the CPS School Locator map to help you understand what attendance boundaries a particular school uses. Before signing a lease, you can also call the school to confirm that it is in their attendance area.
The instructions on how to enroll your child in a Chicago Public School are located on CPS’s Registration and Enrollment page. If you have any questions about school enrollment, please email Duane Davis, the dedicated K-12 resource in the Office of the Provost, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that many schools will require a physical examination and immunization records from a physician before enrolling a child, and CPS will require proof of your address in Chicago.
UChicagoGRAD’s Family Resource Center Parent Guide includes information on public and private schools in the area.
Proximity to playgrounds and daycare
Chicago and the Hyde Park neighborhood boast a variety of parks and playgrounds. Living within walking distance of a place for your children to play outdoors, or near child-friendly attractions like the Museum of Science and Industry, will have great benefits. If your children are preschool age, consider the variety of options and cost of daycares or childcare co-ops.
UChicagoGRAD’s Family Resource Center Parent Guide also includes information on childcare options and child-friendly attractions. The Family Resource Center, or FRC, is located on the south edge of campus, and offers a range of programs and services.
Look for family-friendly housing
If the building is a family-friendly one, then living there with little kids will be easier—and probably more fun. Generally, buildings with larger apartments (two or more bedrooms) are more likely to be family-friendly; a nearby playground, or a bike room with plenty of kids’ bikes are good indicators of a child-friendly environment. Having neighbors with children is a built-in way to make friends for the whole family. You can also meet other student parents through the Family Resource Center.
Having an in-unit or on-site washer/dryer will make life much easier for families with children. In-unit laundry is mostly found in newer or renovated—and thus usually more expensive—properties, but an on-site laundry room is fairly typical. Some buildings might allow you to have a portable washer and dryer that you can easily connect to the sink when required. Asking your landlord in advance whether it is allowed or not may prevent future conflicts.