Our daughter and her husband recently moved into a new neighborhood. Mark and I have been helping them unpack boxes and get fully moved into their home.
As we’ve unpacked, we’ve talked about specific ways that are helpful for welcoming someone to the neighborhood. Some they’ve experienced and others they wished someone would have done for them!
Take over a plate of goodies AND put your family info on an index card with the goodies.
You might want to do a fruit plate rather than baked goods as so many these days are gluten and dairy free. Include your name, address, phone, and the names and ages of your kids (if they’re still at home)! The goodies are great but the contact info is GOLD! This gives them a way to connect for play dates, a person to contact to ask questions to, and it helps them remember who’s who in the neighborhood! You might even put info like a link to an online neighborhood group, the trash pickup day, and what time the school bus comes by.
Offer to help carry things into the house when they arrive with a full car.
You don’t have to help them move in, but if you see them arrive with a car full of groceries, or hanging clothes, or miscellaneous boxes, offer to help them carry a few things in. Moving is physically exhausting and even a little bit of help can make a big difference!
Take them a meal.
In our Better Together book, one of the things we talk about is “She didn’t ask. She did.” Sometimes it best not to ask, but to simply say “I’d love to bring you a meal tomorrow night. Do you have any food allergies I need to be aware of?” If they say that tomorrow they’ll be gone, suggest that you’ll bring something that can be put in the refrigerator or the freezer for later.
Ask for their name and contact info.
This lets you reach out to them at a later time. Last summer we met our new neighbors at our garage sale (we live in the country so they’re a half mile away and we didn’t even know they had moved in!). We chatted briefly and I got their contact info. After the garage sale was over, I had a box of plastic hangers that didn’t sell so I contacted our new neighbors to ask if they needed any hangers. I told them they could have the whole box and they were so appreciative!
Host a picnic for the neighbors right around you.
Have everyone bring their own meat to grill and a dish to pass. This will allow the new family to meet their closest neighbors all at once! It’s a great way to say “Welcome!”
Invite your neighbor over for a cup of tea or to sit on the porch with an iced tea.
“Tell me your story and what brought you here,” is a great place to start with your conversation. Once they share, you can share a little of your story and what brought you to the neighborhood as well!
Offer to let their kids play with yours while the moving truck is being unloaded.
Some families move to a place where they have no extended family and they know no one. That means young children are right in the middle of all the moving muddle! Offering to let them play in your yard or at your house could be a welcome relief. Of course, some might not be comfortable letting their kids go into a home of someone they don’t know, but you could offer to watch the kids in your yard where their parents can see them but they’re out of the way of truck unloading.
Offer to show them around town.
If they’re new to town, offer to show them some of the best places to shop, eat out, and go to church. When I first moved to Normal, Illinois, a lady from church offered to show me where the bread outlet store was. She offered to pick me up on one of her weekly trips there to get bread for her family. I was so appreciative to learn about this local resource I might not have known about for months or longer!
What about you? What suggestions would you add to this list?
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