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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Seven ways to make your new neighbor feel welcome

Seven ways to make your new neighbor feel welcome
by Jennifer LB Leese

Thousands of people, including families from all over the world, move to new homes and new neighborhoods every day. That's one in every five families moving each year. The majority of those people move to different towns or even to different states. Some also move to different countries.
At one time or another, we have all moved to a new home. Whether it was within the same town, moving to unfamiliar locations can cause stress and anxiety, which in turn makes you feel awkward at first. Children especially feel this when entering a new school. Moving for children can be potentially traumatizing and may cause behavioral problems in children, even in toddlers. Psychological surveys taken on these types of situations indicate that the lack of attention to their fears and feelings about the whole moving experience can cause these behavioral problems.
Having been there, we can and should help our new neighbors feel more comfortable and welcome in their new neighborhood and in their new town.
There are many things that can be done to help make moving into a new home a pleasant experience for those families and for their children.
Suppose a family moves from a different state or even into another country--they are not only moving into a new and unfamiliar home. They are also moving into a new and unknown neighborhood as well as to a foreign state.
Not to mention the children who will be leaving their friends, schools, neighborhoods, play areas, and most often, families behind. Everything they once knew and were comfortable with is now all unfamiliar and new. Grown-ups can deal with moving a lot better than children, but if we--as their new neighbors--can make it easier on the parents then it's easier on their children as well.
How about making your new neighbor's feel welcome by:
1) Gathering local school information such as: phone numbers, statistics of the schools test scores, and contact people can be very helpful. With thousands of websites at your fingertips--the Internet is the perfect place to go.
2) Gathering area childcare providers' phone numbers, addresses, available openings, and their childcare business reputation is also a very helpful way of helping out your new neighbor.
3) Gathering phone numbers and addresses for the local city hall, courthouse, electric company, city dump, non-emergency police and non-emergency fire department, and water companies information. All this information will be in your local phone book.
4) Send a friendly letter letting them know on what days your neighborhood's trash pick-up is and if recycling is mandatory in your community.
5) They will be very busy their first night in their new home. How about making them a simple pre-cooked dinner?
6) Even offering your assistance in unpacking boxes, helping to put things away or even to help refresh their new home can make a big difference.
7) Also if there is a neighborhood watch in your area, let them know all the information about that and of any other topics that you feel are important to your neighborhood. Fort Braggs Police Department Online (http://www.mcn.org/1/fortbraggcity/polcie/nhwatch.htm) gives wonderful detailed information on starting your own neighborhood watch.
You can do just about anything. I've only mentioned a few creative ideas! Use your imagination. One great way to present this collection of helpful hints is to arrange them with supplies and miscellaneous items into a colorful gift basket.
If these families are moving from another country, then you could look up culture, arts and entertainment, restaurants and even government information that you think would be of interest to your new neighbors.
Your computer can be the best information link in the world. There are tons of links, articles, web pages and many search engines to help you look for what you think would be of interest to someone moving to a new area.
What about your town's "Crime Statistics"? With the Internet you have the power of letting your new neighbors know the crime statistics in your town and state. This can be very helpful. Most individuals with children are interested in reading and receiving this sort of information--I know I was when I first moved to my new community.
In addition, parents with children would like to know the school background, teacher information, reputation and the grade statistics of the school that their children will be attending. School reports are available online or by your local board of education. Who knows, you may learn things you've never realized about your city and schools.
For added fun, depending on how much research you'd like to put into it, you can also provide facts about your state such as state song, state tree, state flower and the state bird, the symbol of your state, its nickname and local newspapers and TV stations.
The best way to gather information for your new neighbor is to think of what you would like or what you would appreciate if you were the one moving into a new neighborhood. For a family moving into a strange and new area, there is no such thing as too much information.

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