Choosing between the sweeping landscapes of the countryside and the exciting bustle of city life can be tricky when you have to take the needs of kids into account. A childhood in the country conjures up images of running through fields, getting covered in mud and returning home in time for tea, while city life implies shopping with friends, exploring museums and playing in the park across the street every afternoon. Both of these childhoods sound charming in their own way, but many people still struggle with which is better.
Many country-dwellers will point to the cleaner air compared with the pollution that occurs in cities as a positive health benefit. In fact, studies have actually shown that rural residents do have a higher life expectancy than those who live in cities, possibly because of the better air quality and access to green space for exercise. Aside from health concerns the countryside tends to be more secure than cities, with most rural areas reporting a lower crime rate, a fact that tends to reassure parents who want to let their kids play outside. However, city residents point out that since parents in urban areas expect high crime rates, they will take more care to teach kids about staying safe when they’re out and about. This extends to road safety – while there are more minor accidents on city roads, those that occur in the countryside are more likely to be serious or even fatal.
When it comes to education, children in village schools tend to out-perform their peers in inner cities. While this is the reverse of the global trend there could be several reasons for this, including smaller classes that ensure pupils get focused attention from their teachers. However, some educators see big schools as a positive because they bring together pupils of different cultural backgrounds, making it more likely that kids will be exposed to and respectful of a variety of religions and beliefs.
The amenities available in cities may provide more opportunities for kids to take up new hobbies. Living in the country can leave children relying on infrequent bus services or their parents if they want to explore further than their remote surroundings. While there is the traditional view of the countryside as a haven of fields and woods for kids to run freely in, this picture becomes less charming to a bored teen stuck with nothing to do. The cosy feel of a farmhouse kitchen might seem appealing to a couple with a young family but the novelty will soon wear thin, particularly when you can transport it to the city with just some quaint curtains, a wooden table and rustic chic wardrobes! Some people enjoy the quiet life of the country, but parents who want to keep their kids independent and active might be better off sacrificing peace and quiet for the excitement and variation of the city.
Despite the studies available, the choice between the countryside and city depends on the kind of lifestyle parents want to give their kids. For those who want the good old-fashioned life it has to be rolling fields and mud, while parents who feel at home in a more vibrant space will prefer to settle in the city.