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If you’re shopping for a new home and have young children, you must focus on safety and convenience. Some features that you might not initially consider important can be crucial for families with kids.

Layout
A house with an open floorplan may seem appealing, but your kids could run around and scatter toys everywhere. Clearly divided rooms make it easier to keep kids in one area where they can be supervised. A large living room or playroom can keep toys in one place. Make sure the kitchen and dining area are large enough for your entire family, plus guests if you like to entertain.

Bedrooms
Sharing a bedroom can teach kids to cooperate, share, communicate and respect each other, but it can also lead to fights. Think about how your kids get along with each other and how much of an age difference there is, and ask yourself whether they would be better off together or in separate rooms. If you plan to expand your family in the future, buy a house with extra bedrooms or rooms that could be converted into bedrooms in the future. Make sure closets are large enough for your children’s current belongings, plus ones they’ll accumulate as they get older.

Stairs
Kids will climb, or attempt to climb, stairs if they can get at them. Baby gates can block access for kids, but they can also make it difficult for adults to move between floors while carrying laundry or performing other household tasks. Take this into account when looking for a home.

Flooring Materials
A toddler who’s learning to walk or an older child who likes to run throughout the house will fall sometimes, which means wood or tile flooring could be dangerous. Carpet can be much safer. If you buy a house with carpeted floors, look for colors that won’t be too hard to clean.

Yard
Playing in a yard can help young kids’ physical and mental development. In addition, the more your kids play outside, the less of a mess they’ll create in the house. If you’re looking for a house in a suburban or rural area, look for one with a fenced-in yard.

Bathrooms
Conflicts over time and space in the bathroom often lead to unnecessary family tension. Choose a house with enough bathrooms, especially if you plan to have more children in the future. Also, bathing young kids is easier in a bathtub than in a shower.

Laundry
Parents of young children need to do a lot of laundry. Make sure your house has a washer and dryer, or room to add them.

Look at the Right Houses
Finding a house that’ll work both now and in the future can be challenging if you have young kids. Discuss these issues with your real estate agent so you can focus on listings that are appropriate for your family.

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