Q: How far would you say the Indian real estate market has come, in terms of the adoption of the concept of kid-centric homes?
A: Though there are a couple of developers who have launched projects under this concept but in terms of creating a separate category in real estate, the concept is still in early phases. Interest and curiosity is there when people hear about this concept and conversions are also better when people visit the projects and see the value proposition getting delivered on the ground. However, there is a lot more to be done to make people acknowledge that the development of their kids should be a decision criterion for choosing a home and not just seen as an added benefit only.
Q: There are still a lot of developers who throw in a few amenities like a park, or a kids playing area and market their projects as kid-centric. Is that all it takes to make a kid-centric project? Please tell us in detail, what goes into the making of a kid-centric project?
A: It’s a misconception that giving a few facilities can make a project, a kid-centric one. There is a lot that goes into the making of a kid-centric project. We have a specialised core team from various functions which ensures that both, the hardware and the software come together for a kids-centric project. It’s not just enough to provide the physical amenities; you have to create activities around these amenities so that the desired learning is inculcated among the children. That’s how the ‘hardware’ and the ‘software’ come together. The basic idea behind ‘Kid-Centric Homes’ is where the infrastructure, facilities, and management of the project create an environment that ensures holistic development of children of all ages inside the project itself. We have a unique design that provides spaces which can engage the youngsters in the most constructive manner possible. This includes world-class sporting infra, learning centre dedicated to visual and performing arts and other kid-friendly amenities for learning and exploration.
We also have an on-ground team of experts which focuses on making sure that the environment for learning is created through setting up processes, enabling resources and coaches for learning, driving values through the project. Creating a culture of reading through a library, reading clubs and a sense of ownership under expert guidance is important. Equally important, are regular training of staff on the purpose and delivery to make sure the execution is aligned. These things go a long way in enabling physical, emotional, and cognitive development of children outside of school hours.
It’s also important to make sure that kids are provided enough platforms to showcase their talent. Activities such as managing clubs like reading, environment and makers club, etc., at their level, help in building life skills like ownership, decision making, problem-solving, creative thinking, empathy, etc.
Q: What benefits do such projects offer to the children, as well as the family at large?
A: There are so many reports and studies which state the benefit of kids engaging in sports and co-curricular activities. That is why parents today, have started sending their kids to sports clubs and independent learning centres. Although parents try to provide access and exposure to various activities, it’s difficult to find time to take children for these activities. The problem accentuates when these facilities are far off or expensive. Providing such facilities under one roof with specialised coaches, solves the above problems of time and money to a large extent.
Also, being in nuclear and double-income families, kids are left alone during their spare time which generally is spent on gadgets. Screen time, which includes TV, mobiles, video games, etc., have shown proven ill-effects on kids like slowed cognitive growth, increased agitation, delayed physical growth, restraint in social growth among others. Being on a campus where all the facilities are available 24*7 and safe enough that kids don’t need escorts, reduces their screen time to a large extent. Parents benefit from getting free time for themselves, a sense of safety and security of their children and also the satisfaction of doing their best for their children, within their resources.
Q: Right now, a lot of housing segments like student, senior, etc., are trending. Do you think kid-centric homes have the potential to become a full-blown segment and even offer long-term ROI in these projects?
A: Kid-centric homes meet the needs of today’s young working parents by providing societies which are well-equipped with the latest and advanced amenities. As both the parents are working, an increase in purchasing power allows them to invest in extra amenities which promise towards constructive engagement and development of their kids. Buying a home with thoughtfully designed amenities for children, is making the lives of working parents much easier and convenient. If executed in the right way, kid-centric homes definitely have the potential to become a full-fledged segment. We expect a 5-7% premium in this segment over comfort homes after 2-3 years.
Q: Which part of India would you say has the maximum number of kid-centric projects?
A: There is no concentration of kid-centric homes in any region as of now. Gera Developments has initiated a couple of projects in Pune and Benguluru; there is one project by Godrej Properties in Noida and we currently have three projects underway in Bhiwadi, Jaipur and South of Gurgaon, respectively.
(The writer is Editor-in-chief, Housing.com News)