In the age of the internet, fewer and fewer people really get to know their neighbors! According to a recent study, over half of us don’t even interact with our neighbors once a week! There are so many benefits to knowing your neighbors, from having someone to housesit when you travel, to expanding your child’s social circles, to simply being able to borrow a half-cup of sugar when you need it. Whatever your reasoning, here are three easy ways to start building relationships with the families in your neighborhood.
1. Plan a neighborhood potluck
With the milder temperatures of fall on their way, there is no better time to plan a neighborhood potluck! Go door-to-door, write up some invitations, or post in a neighborhood group on social media to let them know when and where to go! This can be especially fun in multicultural neighborhoods, where different families may have vastly different recipes to bring. Meet either at your house or in a nearby public park to share food and get to know one another as the children play. This method is not only fun and seasonally appropriate, but extremely frugal, as everyone brings a single meal item to share.
2. Spend time outside
Sounds simple enough, right? Really though, spending time outside is a great way to meet neighbors! Wave and let your kids ask to pet the dog as your neighbors walk their pets, make small talk at the mailboxes, and pause your daily walk to talk to people gardening. This is a great daily habit to grow relationships with neighborhood families, little by little. It is especially helpful for families with children in elementary school, as it lets kids get to know their neighbors in a low-pressure way where none of them have the upper hand of it being their house.
3. Volunteer together
A great way to build community is to volunteer together, working toward a common goal! Try getting a group together to clean up a local park, help at a nearby food pantry, or otherwise serve your community. These outings are a great way to get to know lots of people at once, all while doing some good for the people in your area! It is also a great opportunity to teach your child about the value of community service, and find ways to get even little hands involved.
Now, you have a few ways to get to know your neighbors, but don’t stop there! Keep experimenting to find what works best for you as you get to know your local community.