How to avoid making enemies while raising kids in the city

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Raising a family in a city of apartment-dwellers all but guarantees awkward social interactions with your neighbors on a semi-daily basis. Do their tepid greetings mean they heard through the paper-thin walls your tween recently screaming how much he hates you? Do you suspect that they secretly blame you for the building-wide flu epidemic since you let your sick—but not yet diagnosed—child run around the playroom last week?

What are some common dilemmas that crop up when families literally live on top of one another? And how should they be solved? We spoke to NYC parents, brokers, and even a doorman to get the scoop.

What should you do if your kid damages something in the building?

  • Most buildings have insurance policies that deal with this sort of thing. Still, you should bring it to the attention of the management company.
  • If your child is old enough, have him or her apologize personally. If not, you apologize. Either way, offer to pay for any and all damages.

What’s the etiquette for a communal building playroom?

  • No sick kids.
  • No loud music.
  • No large groups of non-resident children.
  • No eating or drinking.
  • Take off your shoes.
  • Clean up after your kids.
  • Supervise your kids at all times!

What about other common areas, like roof decks or pools?

  • Be respectful of adult-only swimming times at the pool.
  • Don’t bring little ones to the roof deck at dinnertime when people are trying to have a nice dinner.

Can you leave your stroller in the hallway?

  • Nope, it’s a fire hazard.

What’s the best way to approach neighbors about playdates?

  • Don’t just knock on the door and ask (unless you know the family really well and have discussed it before). Call or email, instead.
  • Some buildings actually have a computer system in place where you can post on a community board if you want a playdate for your kid. This is especially helpful if you’re new to the building and looking to meet people.

For more, read “Raising kids in an apartment building: 7 classic dilemmas solved.”

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


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