Tips and Tricks for Not Annoying the Neighbors

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Q: My husband is in grad school, and so we live on the top floor of a 2-story graduate student apartment building. Due to the configuration of the building, we can’t hear ANYTHING from either our next-door neighbors or our downstairs neighbors – but our downstairs neighbors can hear almost EVERYTHING we do. And of course, we have a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old and they have no children. They are very, very sweet to our kids, and never complain about the herd-of-elephant noises we must make upstairs, except through a few very careful comments every now and again (if we have been out of town, for example, they might say “oh, we’ve missed the pitter patter of little feet!”). continued below:

Sent by Emmy

However, they are getting married this weekend, and sent a very kind email stating that due to the stress they’ve been under lately, they’re trying extra hard to get a lot of good sleep before their big day…and so, if possible, could we please keep it down just a little? Of COURSE we are happy to go out of our way for this super-nice couple on their special weekend, and if it involves some extra tv to ensure extra quiet, we’ll do it.

We have worked hard to teach our children to be respectful of our downstairs neighbors. We do the normal things, like enforcing quiet hours (after 10pm and before 7am), and we don’t do anything crazy like vacuuming or playing rock band at 2am. We also discourage jumping off the bed, couch, etc. But my question is in general: apart from absolutely tip-toeing around and whispering all the time (not possible for two young children), does anyone have some special (though hopefully very cheap) tricks to help keep the noise level down for downstairs neighbors? Especially for the noise we just can’t prevent – night terrors, running to the bathroom before an accident, etc. And no…we can’t move.

Thanks for your help!

Editor: This is a very common concern and you are not alone! We lucked out in our building being on the first floor with a young family above us and pre-parents next door. Every time our 2-year-old son does his “laps” up and down the hallway we thank our lucky stars no one lives below us. So rugs come to mind as one way to lessen the impact of noise. Another tip is to bend over backwards to befriend them. They will surely be less annoyed about noise if they get to know your kids a little. Readers – can you give Emmy advice – how do you minimize noise to be neighborly?

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