Surviving Life in a Walk-Up Apartment With Kids

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Kathryn Bacalis)

I know exactly how many stairs there are to our apartment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve counted—through tantrums, while carrying strollers or sleds in the dead of winter. We’ve lived here four years now, they were babies, they were just-learning to walk, I even had one C-section. Friends who live large on the ground floor tell me they’d never go back. So…how do we do it? How do we make life work with kids in a walk up?

1. We bought an ultra-lightweight stroller. When living in the city, our stroller of choice was the Bugaboo Bee. I know it’s an expensive stroller, but the fact I could lift it by myself, with a kid inside, made the price-tag worth it.

2. We said goodbye to the baby bag. I’ve noticed that a marked difference between first-time Moms and Dads and fifth-time Moms and Dads is how much stuff they take with them when they go out. It’s not that baby number 5 needs less, it’s that they realized by baby 5 that all you need is a diaper and some wipes and for everything else you’ll make do. Hiking a mountain of baby gear up and down the stairs is no fun…and not necessary! Pop the essentials into your purse and get outside fast.

3. A little pre-planning goes a long way. When I head to the grocery store, I make sure it’s on a day my husband gets home early enough to help load the groceries back into the apartment. When we’re going out to play in the park, we make sure we all go to the potty first. When I’m about to walk out the door, I check to see I have my keys and wallet on hand. Walking up a walk up might be a pain, but it’s even worse if it could have been prevented!

4. Now the kids can walk, they walk up on their own. I know that kids stalling on the stairs is frustrating, but I learnt early on that with every time I pick them up rather than make them walk (when I know they can), I am starting us back at the beginning all over again. After sticking it out through some tough on-the-stairs stand-offs, my kids know I will not budge on the fact they have to make it up the stairs alone, and they do it without a fuss.

Do you live in a walk-up with kids? Share your own secrets for making it work below!