You may decide to move to a new home for any number of reasons, from a promising career to a better school district for your children. While your new home offers opportunities for you and your family, living in a new neighborhood after a move can make you feel isolated. But you needn’t feel separated from your community for long.
In this blog, we provide several guidelines to help you and your family begin to integrate into your new community.
Explore the Area Around Your New Home
Part of becoming a true member of your community is familiarizing yourself with your surroundings. Once you know your area, you may feel more confident going out of your comfort zone.
During the unpacking process, give yourself time to walk or drive around your neighborhood. In addition to finding the local necessities, like a preferred grocery store, look for activities for your family, like going to parks.
Take daytrips to places of interest to give yourself a taste of the culture and community you’ve moved into. Places like museums, national parks, and so on can be great sites for family outings while restaurants and nightclubs can help you and your partner feel right at home.
Find Common-Interest Groups
As an adult, you may feel intimidated by the prospect of making new friends. Worse, as a parent, you may worry that your children will struggle to make friends. One of the ways you can find potential friends for yourself and your kids is to meet with people with whom you share interests.
You may want to start with your neighbors who have a living area in common with you. Other common-interest groups may include parents, pet owners, hobbyists, and so on. You can find these groups through organizations like the PTA, places like the nearest dog park, and forums like an online chat room for local woodworkers.
Get a New Library Card
Libraries are one of the best places to start getting to know a new community. Your local library offers community-oriented services, and many libraries are located in central parts of their respective cities.
To get your new library card, you’ll need a form of ID and proof of your address. When you go to get your card, talk to the librarians about community events and organizations that may be linked to the library. For example, many libraries accept volunteers to read to children or help with adult literacy programs.
Your library may also be a meeting place for other organizations. Look for a bulletin board to discover local performance information, festival dates, and similar events.
Pay Attention to the Local News
If you want to feel like a local, you have to keep up with the local news. You may want to subscribe to a city newspaper or a community newsletter to learn more about what’s happening in your area.
Additionally, learn more about the elected officials who serve your area. A little political research right after moving in can encourage you to get involved in community efforts and help you stay informed about legislation that affects you.
Take Up a Hobby or Sport
If you don’t find fast friends in your obvious common-interest groups, you may need to expand your social circle. Consider signing up for an activity or taking up a hobby that will help you meet more people. This step can be particularly helpful for families and children.
Your options may include changes to your daily routine, like joining a gym, rekindling your love of a sport by signing up for a local league, or learning more about a hobby with historical ties to your area.
Many community centers offer classes in a variety of subjects. If you don’t know of an activity you might want to begin, start by looking at the upcoming curriculum. Your community center may offer something for every member of your family, from dance instruction to quilting.
Volunteer at a Local Charity or Organization
Serving your community is one of the best ways to feel like you’re part of it. Find a charity or organization that you feel good about investing your time in. If you have skills that the charity needs, you can focus on providing those services.
However, you don’t need any special skills to help out at food banks, animal shelters, and soup kitchens.
Additionally, if you can’t invest a set, regular amount of time due to your busy schedule, consider volunteering for a specific event. For example, many charities have holiday events to provide for people in need, and such organizations generally encourage volunteers to help. You may find yourself working side by side with or even serving your new best friend.
Use these guidelines to start to feel like you belong in your new neighborhood. These steps can help you move on with your life after you move into your next home.