Moving to the Country with Children
If you're a parent thinking about moving to the country, you’ve got a lot to consider. It would be a lifestyle change for your entire family. You'll be bringing up “farm kids.” It won’t always be perfect, but there are many benefits to raising kids away from the hubbub of the city or the malls of the suburbs.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics1, According to the American Academy of Pediatrics1 unstructured playtime is critical to a child's creative and problem-solving development. And if that playtime is happening outdoors, all the better. Rural kids enjoy the freedom to create their own adventures outside and learn to make independent decisions, while their parents enjoy the freedom of not worrying as much when they don't always have two eyes on their kids. It's a win-win.
Chores = better kids
If you're raising kids rural, chances are you have a farm, hobby farm, or even chickens or goats to tend. Guess who your farm hands are going to be? Whether it's helping you feed the chickens and gather eggs, weeding your family garden, or making sure the goats have water for the day, your kids can help out in myriad ways on the farm.
Making chores a regular part of their routine not only helps you run your farm and household, it helps them, too. The Center for Parenting Education2 (CPE) tells us that children who are responsible for chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible, deal with frustration better and understand delayed gratification better than kids who aren't expected to help out at home. It also sets them up for success later in life. According to the CPE, the best predictor of success in young adults was that they had chores as a kid.
Strong family bonds
When you live in the country, you likely don't have neighbors next door or across the street. Yes, your kids will interact with peers in school, but after school and weekend playtime will usually center around their siblings3 rather than neighborhood pals. Simply on the basis of geography, your kids will be each other's best friends. They will grow up with family at the center of their lives.
Related: How to Become More Involved in Your Rural Community
Their IQs are higher
Really? Really — with a couple of qualifications. A recent study by psychologist Markus Jokela of the University of Helsinki4 found that people with the highest IQs were those who were raised in rural environments and moved to the city as adults. He based these findings on a long-term study of Americans, started in 1979 and continued over time.
That seems pretty random, right? Why would rural kids be smarter than their urban counterparts? The reasons for this aren't clear, but one speculation is this results from the smaller class sizes in rural schools. When you think about that, it makes perfect sense.
Less screen time means healthier kids
Excessive screen time5 for kids has been linked to obesity, not getting enough sleep, poor grades and a whole host of problems (not the least of which is wresting the phone out of your child's hands at the dinner table). Life on a farm doesn't leave a whole lot of time for playing Candy Crush or watching TikTok endlessly. Instead, your kids are outside playing, feeding the animals, weeding or helping you out in other ways.
Kids who grow up with animals are better off
Whether it's backyard chickens and goats or an inside dog or cat, kids who grow up with animals fare better than kids who don't.6 Animals reduce stress, provide companionship, and help teach kids empathy and responsibility. But there are other, more surprising benefits.
Psychology Today cites a recent survey that studied the impact of animals on children, and found that kids who were raised around animals had better general health, were more obedient, more physically active, less moody and had fewer behavior and learning problems than kids who had no animals in their households.
Moving to the country has myriad benefits, but your children might benefit most of all.
For related reading, check out Moving to the Country: What to Expect.
Ready for more space and a slower pace? Apply today!
Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/119/1/182
Center for Parenting Education https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/responsibility-and-chores/part-i-benefits-of-chores/
Boots and Hooves Homestead https://bootsandhooveshomestead.com/raising-farm-kids-the-benefits-country-living/
American Academy of Pediatrics https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx
Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animals-and-us/201707/why-kids-pets-are-better