Get To Know Your New Neighborhood
So you’re moving. You’ve got a lot to think about: packing up, arranging for movers, turning on utilities. But one thing you may not have thought about is getting to know your new neighborhood. This is especially important if you have children. Moving into an unfamiliar area can be frightening for kids and add to their anxiety that’s already high at the thought of this transition. To make it easier, below are some tips on how to get to know your new neighborhood, making the transition easier and happier for everyone.
If you’re moving to a new city or state:
l Before you even get there, call the local chamber of commerce and request a packet of area information. Most are happy to oblige, getting the word out about their fair city. You can learn a lot from this material, including local history, the businesses in town, events, etc.
l Purchase a detailed map of the city. Sit down with your kids and look it over with them.
l Call your children’s schools to request a tour of the facilities before the kids have to start school. Be sure to locate your children’s classrooms, the cafeteria, library, gym and bathrooms. Have your child sketch out his/her own map of the school. The more information they have, the more comfortable they will be. Also consider doing some volunteer work in the school either the PTA or classroom activities. . . the children love to have you there and you will make new friends fast.
After moving in:
l As a family, drive around the area and find parks, the post office, the closest grocery store, a favorite chain restaurant, mall, bank, hospital, swimming pool, etc.
l Again as a family, walk the neighborhood. Make a map of the neighborhood, marking down street names, bike paths, parks, tennis courts, etc. Any neighbors you meet this way, be sure to write down their names on the map where their house is.
l Don’t wait for the neighbors to come introduce themselves. The days of neighbors bringing cakes to welcome newcomers to the neighborhood are pretty much over, mostly because people are more busy than ever. On the weekend, why not whip up a batch of cookies and go door to door, introducing yourself and distributing goodies. Be sure to ask your neighbors about the area and the features they like.
l Get a subscription to the community newspaper. These little papers usually list neighborhood events, give discount coupons to local businesses and other tidbits you’ll find very useful.
l Since a lot of moving happens in the summer, you may find your kids at loose ends and lonely before they start school and meet kids. Take them to the library, where they can sign up for reading contests, book clubs and check out books, videos and magazines that will keep them occupied while you’re trying to get the new house whipped into shape.
l Go to the local recreation center. Again, you can sign your kids up for classes in everything from drama to art to rock climbing and more. They’ll make fast friends and have fun learning a new skill or polishing an existing one.
l Be sure to locate local museums and zoos. If moving has left you strapped for cash, most museums have free days regularly.
l Pick up a guidebook of the area if one wasn’t included in the chamber of commerce info packet you got. This will give you an idea of the local attractions.
l Participate in your new community. Join your homeowners association and attend the meetings. Join the PTA. Volunteer at the local food bank. Your new neighborhood will feel like home in no time.