Do you ever wonder how to be a good neighbor? It can be as simple as waving hi, chatting up the family next door, or helping someone out when they need a hand. Remember, it’s never too late to strengthen your bond with the people who live next door, across the street, or at the end of the block. Here are 12 simple ways you and the kids can connect with your neighbors today and every day.
1. Ask them their name. This seems like a no-brainer, but so often we don’t know even know our neighbor’s names!
2. Exchange phone numbers. A simple gesture that says you’re looking out for them.
3. Bake something. The holidays often bring this kind of tradition, but why not invoke it on a random Wednesday? Few people will be disappointed in freshly baked bread, cookies, or other goodies. And everybody loves coffee cake.
4. Plant it. A cutting from your favorite houseplant or a pre-potted begonia: even a small bouquet of flowers is a sweet and inexpensive way to say, “Hey!”
5. Arrange an interview. Use this get-to-know-your-neighbors guide to help your kids interview your neighbors.
6. Make it a double. Next time you’re at the store, grab an extra bar of soap, dishwashing liquid or another cleaning product and gift it to your neighbor. It doesn’t need to be expensive, and keep in mind many people have chemical and scent sensitivities.
7. Make a hello card. Have the kids paint or draw a simple card that just says “Hello, neighbor!”
8. Carry the load. Help unload the trunk of the car or pick up a package from the bottom of the stairs and place it in front of their door.
9. Invite them to dinner. Make dinner at your house or meet them at your favorite place. There are so many options for your comfort level.
10. Do a work exchange. Mow their lawn, shovel their driveway, pull weeds or something similar. Even if you live in an apartment building you can help tidy up communal spaces or carry their recycling down to the street.
11. Organize a pot-luck. If you don’t have the space to do this in your own place, use a nearby park or community center. Make simple invites that you hand-deliver and set a time limit.
12. Start a club. If you share a passion or hobby with your neighbor, do this hobby together or start a group in your community. This could be a book club, knitting club, woodworking club and so on. The options are endless!
—Taylor Clifton, Amber Guetebier