Be My Neighbor Day: 5 Tips for Being Neighborly

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Do you know your neighbors?

When my husband and I decided to move out of our first home we discussed whether we wanted to live in the country where our nearest neighbor might be a mile away or live in a neighborhood where our kids could see their neighbors every day.

We settled on a neighborhood because we envisioned backyard barbeques, late night fires, huge trick or treat festivities, and lots of kids playing outside.  Our houses are near our neighbors but our backyard is private–so it’s a best of both worlds for us.

But moving to a new neighborhood is very different as an adult than it is as a kid.  As a kid, being a neighbor came naturally. Perhaps it was all the Mister Rogers that I watched as a kid. Learning that a smile and “hello!” can go a long way. Reaching out to the people nearby. Sharing. Helping. Caring. Just getting outside was the first step, and as a kid that was easy.

As an adult, I find being a good neighbor is a little more difficult. As I scoot to my mailbox each day I often wonder, “Where ARE my neighbors?” Everyone is busy working, or catching up on laundry, paying bills, or running errands. We are all so busy. So harried. So stressed.  Sure, I find time for a few shared stories and laughs at the bus stop…but beyond that…well, as a good neighbor, I might be a failure.

Maybe I’m being a little hard on myself, because I know I’m not alone. But how about a little wake-up call? Maybe you are joining me in this group of half-hearted neighbors: We are all failing miserably together.

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Couldn’t we all take a cue from the ultimate good neighbor?

Mister Rogers took it slow. He made time to put on his good neighbor clothes–took time to tie his shoes. Made eye contact. Said Hello! Talked about his feelings. Empathized. Cared. Shared. Leant a hand. And always had time for Make Believe.

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Janene talked before about how grateful she is that her kids have Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood to watch and learn from. And I wholeheartedly agree. I love Daniel’s style and so does my three year old. Very soon Daniel will be celebrating Be My Neighbor Day in his neighborhood. And we can join him! 

First, visit BeMyNeighbor.org to learn more about the movement. And then make plans to celebrate the day! On March 22nd local readers can  visit one of four locations that will be celebrating Be My Neighbor Day (always the first Saturday after Mister Rogers birthday).

Register at one of four locations: Baierl Family YMCA (Sewickley), Western Area YMCA (Coraopolis), Penn Hills YMCA, or Thelma Lovett YMCA (Centre Avenue).  There is no cost to attend.

Daniel Tiger will be making his first Pittsburgh appearances there! It’s going to be fun for the whole family with games, crafts, a meet and greet with Daniel and more! Don’t forget to bring a new or gently used sweater for the Sweater Drive (sweaters will be distributed to those in need throughout the region). 

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If you can’t attend Be My Neighbor Day at one of the Local YMCAs there are still many ways that you can make the day special and I intend to choose a few from this list inspired by  Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood’s “Neighbor Day” episode, and work on my own Good Neighbor Behavior:

Volunteer!: Check out your local food bank, library or neighborhood park for opportunities for your family to contribute, whether it is going through your house with your preschooler and donating extra canned goods or old books or helping plant brand-new trees!

Play outside and meet new people!: Bring your young children for a fun visit at the neighborhood playground, so they can make new friends and interact with old friends, too!

Ask to help!: When your family sees someone who might need a hand, offer it! Work together with an elderly neighbor who needs extra assistance in their yard or even have your preschooler help take care of a friend’s pet while they’re away on an end-of-summer trip. You can also just talk with your child about times when you helped someone in need.

Smile and say, hello!: Sometimes the littlest things makes the biggest difference! When you are walking through your own neighborhood with your kids, greet passing neighbors with a friendly smile and a “hello” – you might just brighten someone’s day!

Make Coupons for Giving: Help your child create homemade paper coupons for kind and helpful acts, like “a hug,” “help with household chores” or “reading a book to a younger sibling.”

We would love to see how you celebrate Be My Neighbor Day. Use the Hashtag #BeMyNeighborDay across Social Media so that The United Way of Allegheny County, in partnership with The Fred Rogers Company and WQED, The Motherhood, and More Than Mommies can celebrate with you!

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh my goodness, Jasmine LOVES Daniel Tiger. She even has a stuffed tiger named Tigey. This post was perfect timing since, as you know, we’ve just moved into a new neighborhood. This time I’m determined to actually meet and befriend some neighbors.

    These are all great tips. Especially volunteering. I’m planning on trying to get a bunch of bloggers together to go to Second Harvest or volunteer at a soup kitchen. It is such a great way to interact, and it’s something that’s beneficial to the community as well. Two birds, one stone :)

  2. Jody Kleckner says

    We don’t have many neighbors. However with our kids playing outside so much it lends itself to other kids coming and playing also. There have been many times when they have been outside shooting hoops and I look up 15 minutes later and there’s 10 kids out there in an organized basketball game. Or Mike will be out there pitching them balls and kids come running. Also since we don’t have neighbors several times during the year especially in the summer we invite lots of people with their kids to our house for an evening of hanging out and playing.
    My house growing up was full of neighbors and aunts and uncles and cousins stopping by in the afternoon or evening. We may not do it the same as our parents and grandparents but I know many evenings when we have been sitting on our porch people passing by will pull in and stop over for a half an hour.

  3. says

    We don’t have very many neighbors. There is 7 houses total on our road. 3 of us have kids, somewhat close in age, but no one matches up exactly, 3 are older folks, and one is a dorm for a high school prep school. I always had a neighborhood growing up, as did my husband. Many of my friends have neighborhoods where they have block parties and the neighbors are very friendly. I do miss that, although I like where we live. But we’re involved in the community, so I don’t feel isolated.

  4. says

    Although we don’t have many neighbors that we know well, we’re lucky enough to have a couple with children that we are very close with. They are over every weekend and our kids are like siblings. We share the ups and downs and good food. Guess I take it for granted but I hear lots of people say that don’t know their neighbors. While I wish we were closer with more people around us, I feel lucky to have the relationship we have with that one family.

  5. says

    Okay, I’ve missed the actual day – but can I just say that I love this and all of the ideas here. We have been incredibly blessed with our neighborhood and neighbors. We have privacy but our houses are still fairly close. The bonus of this: one of my closest friends lives right next door. She moved in a stranger and went around the neighborhood with plates of homemade cookies, her children in tow, introducing themselves. That was about 10 years ago. She broke the ice – and I’m so thankful she did.

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