Building relationships with your neighbors

With today’s busy schedules and fast-paced lives, it seems there is little time to socialize with the people in your neighborhood. In fact, many times the neighbors are virtual strangers, with barely a word spoken as glances are exchanged on the way to the car, check the mail or while mowing the lawn. Our busy lives have pushed aside the desire to foster a sense of community.

Building relationships with your neighbors can be very beneficial and rewarding. Families with young children can feel safer about their children playing outside if they are well acquainted with their neighbors. Children live happier, healthier and more productive lives when they are raised in a secure environment with plenty of social stimulation and interaction with people from all age groups and walks of life. Often busy and overworked parents may be delighted to discover a friendly neighbor willing to help with babysitting to allow young parents a date night once in a while. Older neighbors can often offer valuable advice and insight to help with child rearing.

To bring families and neighbors together, consider hosting a block party. First, be sure to contact your local public works department or law enforcement center to inquire about any permit fees or required documents in order to hold a block party. Next, visit with your neighbors and begin to set a date. It’s a good idea to keep a “rain date” in mind, in case of unfavorable weather. Once your date is penciled on the calendar, it can be fun to plan a theme. Consider themes based on the season such as a Summer Swim Fest, a Fall Harvest Party, a Winter Wonderland or a Spring Fling. Other fun themes could involve a word-play based on street names, festive Hawaiian luaus, or a simple pot luck buffet. Some very helpful tips for planning a block party can be found in this online PDF: http://www.fcgov.com/communications/pdf/block-party.pdf

A close-knit community also provides help during times of emergency, illness or family distress. It is important to know your neighbors and be willing to help should they need it. Neighborhood watch programs and vigilant eyes within the community drastically reduce crime rates. Starting such a program within your neighborhood is fairly easy. Begin speaking with your local law enforcement office. Often local police departments offer start-up kits for neighborhood watch programs. Speak with your neighbors and arrange a meeting in your home. Not only will you be well on your way to a safer neighborhood, but you will also get to know your neighbors and build solid friendships.

At the initial meeting, be sure to go over the goals you and your neighbors wish to accomplish with the neighborhood watch program, such as: increased security, a safer environment, building relationships and sharing contact information in case of emergencies. Consider creating a “phone tree,” to announce meetings, alert neighbors during an emergency and also to share good news and general announcements. If everyone is willing, encourage continued participation by scheduling monthly meetings.

Another easy way to get to know your neighbors is to hold a yard sale. Not only will you be able to clear your home of a little excess clutter and earn some extra cash, but you can also get to know your neighbors. About three weeks before your yard sale, be sure to visit with your neighbors, let them know you’re planning to have a sale and perhaps see if they would like to set up a few tables in your yard and sell a few items of their own. Offer to have some breakfast items, such as muffins or donuts available for your neighbors to share the morning of the yard sale. Perhaps you can arrange a pot luck dinner to enjoy once the yard sale is finished. Getting to know your neighbors can be simple. The benefits of a close-knit community are well worth the minimal effort to reach out and introduce yourself to the people living around you.

UPDATE:

When we started this blog in 2010, we had three children.

Since that time we have had THREE MORE CHILDREN. We would love for you to visit us at www.coersfamily.com to see how we’ve grown.

2

Advertisements

2 Comments

  1. Matt said,

    September 21, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Good thoughts about community! I’m about to start a food drive with my neighbors. I’m hoping that builds some connections.

    • scottandamanda said,

      September 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks! And good luck with the food drive – that’s a wonderful idea! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: