Feeling like a local in a new community can take years. Even longtime locals can feel isolated as houses nearby change hands. While having children of similar ages can often pave the road to meeting others in your community, it's not necessarily automatic. And what if there aren't very many kids in your neighborhood?
Face-to-face social connection has long been associated with better mental and physical health. How can we have better neighbors? Maybe we just need to BE better neighbors. Here are three creative ways to start.
Establish a free book exchange. Free book exchanges create a gathering place and promote literacy and conversation. One of my coworkers brought an old trash-bound bookcase to the office and that launched our “community” library. I’ve personally contributed and borrowed, which has lead to occasional impromptu book discussions.
Create a welcoming front porch (or yard). Backyards and stockade fences are perfect for private parties, but uninviting to everyone else. Why not take back your front porch? Install a swing, pour yourself a tall iced tea and wave to passersby, eventually inviting them up for a chat. Maybe it’s simply a case of “build-it-and-they-will-come.” Here are some great ideas for creating a welcoming space.
Organize a tool-sharing co-op. Pool your tools! A neighborhood tool lending program is a great way to get to know your neighbors. Living in today’s shade of green, this trend is taking hold for economical AND environmental reasons. Simple neighborhood-tool-sharing, to complex tool libraries, will make sense for many.
Need even more ways to get to know your neighbors? Start a neighborhood garden, organize a weekly group effort to feed the seniors on your street, create a carpool, throw a block party, go for more walks, or anything to strengthen your neighborhood’s spirit. Be the change you want to see. Community does matter and making it a priority will make a difference.
Jennifer Meuse is a content marketer and operations director for an independent real estate firm located in Ipswich, MA. Real estate and community go hand-in-hand and, after 30 years in real estate, Jenn is vested both professionally and personally in both.
Are you an Insider Yet? Macaroni Kid makes it super easy for you to find your family fun all year long. Receive a local calendar of family-friendly events each Tuesday morning when you SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE! You'll be glad you did ... and so will your kids! For even more fun, find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram