Sometimes you have to look at our culture like an anthropologist: What artifacts are precious to the people of today, what activities are protected?
It is with those glasses on that we examine this
“Buyers today — especially millennial buyers — want everyone to have a private space of their own to decompress under one roof, and the bonus room/playroom outweighs a large yard in their buying decision,” said Patty Blackwelder, a buyer’s agent with Twins Selling Real Estate Realty Associates in Northern Virginia. “The first item that seems to fall off the list is the large yard.”
It’s not that large yards are necessary for a good childhood. Of course they’re not. Kids can play anywhere, even on a patch of concrete. But with many parents no longer allowing their kids to go to the park unsupervised — sigh — a yard at least offered an outdoor space that parents trusted — a “childlife refuge” is what I’m going to call it.
And when kids are outside, they are getting a few things they can’t get inside, including a chance to attract other kids (you thought I was going to say predators?), and at least a little interaction with nature.
They’re also more likely to be doing something physical, which in our sedentary times is certainly salutary. (Sorry — I seem to have OD’d on Downton Abbey.)
Anyway, another trend among homeowners is turning the dining room into a play room. I love what the author, Jennifer Graham, has to say about that:
[T]he dining room, maligned today as a dusty, stuffy room that no one used—an oversized parlor—was designed to be a place that children sought to flee, a place where grownups ate adult things and drank adult beverages and talked about adult things…An unused dining room is not an indictment of the purpose of the dining room, but of the inhabitants who fail to use it.
In other words: Carving a space where kids are not the center of attention allows parents to turn their attention to things other than…their kids. I truly believe that one reason we are so worried about every aspect of our children’s lives today is simply that we spend so much time with them. When we do, we see all the spats, spills, and ever-so-slightly dangerous doings that earlier parents missed, because the kids were off somewhere. But once we see all this, we’re often compelled to intervene.
Which, of course, makes us ever more leery of leaving the kids unsupervised.
Which brings us back to the playroom. And brings our kids back inside, where we can watch, watch, watch them. Which is apparently what today’s house hunters are hoping to do. – L