Inside: These 6 easy ways to spread kindness to neighbors will brighten their day and make their days easier.
Last year we moved from one lovely neighborhood to another.
In our last neighborhood where we lived for 15 years, we were close with only one neighbor. But we really didn’t know anyone else well or interact with more than just a “hi” or a wave.
But then we came here where we know all of our neighbors.
With this pandemic and being confined to our neighborhood with family walks, we’re waving to and saying “hi” to more and more people from a distance.
And as we’re all isolated from our social circles and families, it’s never been more important to know our neighbors, reach out to them, and spread some kindness to them.
Even after the pandemic, it’ll continue to be essential to spread kindness to our neighbors. These are the people who live closest to us and to build community, we have to be active members of our community.
For hundreds of years, people have been “neighborly” to those who live near them. They borrow an egg or a cup of sugar or grab their mail when they’re out of town.
But as we all lead busier lives, the neighborly acts seem to be further and further between.
So we can all make a concerted effort to spread (more) kindness to our neighbors.
6 Easy Ways to Show Kindness to Neighbors
1. Check in with Elderly Neighbors
I’m not sure who started this, but someone had the brilliant idea of dropping off three pieces of construction paper to their elderly neighbors: green, red, and yellow. Each day, the elderly neighbor would place one of the pieces of paper in the window to let her neighbors know how they were doing. Green was good. Yellow is they need something, but no rush. And red is there’s an emergency, please come by.
Even after the pandemic, it’s a good practice to check in with all our neighbors, but especially our elderly neighbors who don’t have family near by.
A quick “hi” or well check is a kind way to make sure they’re safe and well and don’t need more support.
2. Do Chores for Them
When my kids bring in our trashcans, I often suggest they bring in the neighbors’ because my kids are young and it’s easy for them to pull trash cans up and down driveways when it may be harder for some of our neighbors.
And when my neighbors go out of town, our family is the first to offer to handle the trashcans and the mail.
When we raked our front yard, we did our neighbor’s too because they had a young baby.
And during winter, when it was time to shovel, we never just shovel our sidewalk. We keep going as far as we can, especially since our next-door neighbor was new to the suburbs and didn’t have a snowblower yet. It took my husband minutes and it would have taken him an hour.
The next time my son shoveled our sidewalk, without being asked he kept on going and went all the way to our neighbor’s house too. It was a simple gesture that made his day easier.
3. Greet Neighbors As You Pass Them
This seems like a no-brainer, but when my husband and I talk walks with our kids, we greet everyone we pass, even on the other side of the street and so many people seem surprised by our greeting.
Greeting others, especially neighbors, should be a normal part of our days.
Say “hi” to your neighbors. Wave when you pass them on your walk or in your car. Smile. You never know how impactful your greeting might be.
4. Drop off a Small Gift or Note
My neighbors have dropped off flowers, my favorite drink, and grabbed me a Starbucks when they went.
And I’ve returned the favor with succulents and cookies and even a cocktail.
Taking the time to drop off a small token shows people what we’re thinking of them and they matter to us.
5. Put up a Sign that Greets Neighbors
We started this during the pandemic and I kinda love it.
My kids made a sign greeting our neighbors and we left it up for months. Then we moved to our new neighborhood and put the sign up again to greet our new neighbors. It’s a small gesture to all our neighbors who walk past our house.
6. Leave Neighbors a Sign That Greets Them
During the summer, we chalked our neighbor’s driveways to let them know we were thinking about them and missed them.
And during the winter, we used this Winter Random Acts of Kindness to show our neighbors we were thinking of them even when it was below freezing.
These might be small gestures, but they are meaningful ways to spread kindness and show our neighbors they matter and we appreciate living in a community with them.
Even if it’s just a wave hello or a bring in a trashcan.