Why Neighborhood Relationships Matter

“Do you know your next door neighbor?”—Mother Teresa, humanitarian

Although our lifestyles can make it easy not to know our neighbors,it’s important to take time to find out who lives next door to us,and around us. Safety experts say that neighborhoods are safer and friendlier when neighbors know each other and look out at each other. For building Developmental Assets in kids, neighbors are key! Be a good neighbor, and get to know your neighbors with these simple tips.

all parents

• Get outside when the weather is nice. Take a walk through your neighborhood. Notice who is outside. Introduce yourself.

• Find out if your block or neighborhood has a block captain or neighborhood association. If so, plug into it and get to know who lives around you. If not, see if you or another neighbor can start one.

• Discover what your neighborhood has to offer. Many have parks, playgrounds, libraries, community gardens, or other places for families.

• Keep track of which neighbors are safe for your kids to know and which ones you’re not so sure about. Neighborhoods can have a mix of people, and some can be important people in your kids’ lives.

• Attend neighborhood gatherings when they come up. These are great ways to get to know and connect with your neighbors. Many neighbors get together for National Night Out the first Tuesday evening in August for most states and the first Tuesday evening in October for people living in Texas.

• Take your kids trick-or-treating in your neighborhood on Halloween. This is one of the few holidays that encourages you to connect with your neighbors.

• Visit ParentFurther.com for more ways to connect with your neighbors. Go there now >

parents with children ages birth to 5

• Take your children to a safe neighborhood playground or park. Get to know other families who are there.

• Go for walks with your child around your neighborhood when it’s safe. Some neighbors are more likely to approach you when you have a young child.

• Play with your kids in your front yard at times instead of always in your back yard. You’re more likely to see neighbors when you’re in front of your home instead of behind your home.

parents with children ages 6 to 9

• Get to know other families when you wait at the bus stop with your kids for school.

• If your child discovers a friend in your neighborhood, take the time to get to know the family of your child’s friend.

• Learn the names of your neighbors when you’re outside or when your kids are playing outdoors.

parents with children ages 10 to 15

• Although kids at this age aren’t interested in their neighbors (or their parents for that matter), continue to be interested in the teenagers of your neighbors. Say hello to them when you see them.

• Talk with your neighbors if you’re having a party for your teenagers or your kids start up a band. It’s better to talk with your neighbors before it may get loud, rather than afterward.

• Find out more about the lives of your neighbors. Go beyond just getting to know their names. In return, they’ll often be more interested in you and your kids.

parents with children ages 16 to 18

• Include neighbors in your celebrations for your kids. If you have a graduation open house for your teenager, invite the neighbors you are closest to. Some families even include neighbors for other events.

• If you’re ever going away and leaving a teenager at home alone, make sure the neighbors know. Encourage them to keep an eye on your home (and what’s happening there) and to contact you if they become uncomfortable with something.

• If you have neighbors who have a good relationship with your teenager, invite them to a game, concert, or some other event your teenager is participating in. Some neighbors (especially elderly neighbors who may have family far away) enjoy being included with the events of some families.