Neighbourhood etiquette tips

Neighbourhood etiquette tips – how to welcome your new neighbours

October 10, 2016

It’s not uncommon nowadays to hear people complain during conversations about it, and you’ve probably read many articles as well about the lack of sense of community and connection in neighbourhoods. You hear your parents talk about the days that they never needed to hire a babysitter, that one of the neighbours would take care of the kids.

We know that times have changed, that people move in and out of homes faster than the “old days” but yet it’s always nice to know who you’re living next door to and that having friends significantly contributes to overall happiness. Being able to step outside, and having a sense of friendship not only gives you happiness but in turn, contributes to your long-term health.

It’s natural to want to create friendships, so the best time to do so, is to reach out when people are moving in, as this can be something that is done quickly, and informally. It’s also a good way to show your children what it means to have a sense of community, and the importance of kindness.

Here are a few ways we can suggest that you can do to welcome your new neighbours

  • If it’s at all possible to find out who your new neighbours are going to be, this would be great. Find out whether they have kids, pets or anything that is making their move a little more nerve-racking. You will find out this information soon enough, but if you can do it before hand, then that will be beneficial to the introduction process.

  • It really sounds like something out of a movie, but knock on the door with your hands full of something – a warm lasagne, ice cream for the kids, a dvd or a couple of magazines perhaps, even a couple of grocery items, milk, bread, coffee, sugar. Although they will claim not to need these things, you can be assured that it will be appreciated once you’ve convinced them to take these items. If you’re worried about any food allergies, then perhaps a potted plant or a vase of flowers. Having something to hand over always makes it easier, and more welcoming!

  • If your new neighbours have children, they will be most concerned about settling them as quickly as possible. They may need information about finding friends in the neighbourhood, as well as recreational activities. Introduce them to their new neighbours, and share any knowledge you may have about doctors, paediatricians, schools and perhaps provide numbers for reliable babysitters, should the time come when they may need one.

  • Something that may prove invaluable to your new neighbours would be lists of important numbers, like local plumbers, electricians, handymen and restaurants. They may need these things once they are settled and have any issues with their home

  • Throw a “new neighbour” party. Ask other neighbours if they’d like to be part of the festivities to split the costs. A braai is a social opportunity for your new neighbours to chat to other neighbours about the neighbourhood and what they can and can’t or shouldn’t do. If it's suitable, then perhaps a games night could work to get to know them better – an old favourite is Trivial Pursuit or other family games are always a winner.

Use these tips the next time you have the opportunity, it goes a long way to creating a happy, safe environment for you, your kids and all those around you!

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