Leaving your friends and community can be difficult; making friends and becoming part of the community in your new neighborhood doesn’t have to be.
Consider adopting a dog who will help you socialize.
If your family has been planning to add a dog to your family, right after you get settled in your new home may be the time to finally do it. “Dogs make great conversation starters and many towns have dog parks, which become great places for socialization,” Bernstein says. But make sure your family is ready to add a furry friend to the household.
Join neighborhood parent listservs.
“These include groups such as BoCoCa Parents, Park Slope Parents, or Next Door,” says Jennifer Rhodes, a broker at Ideal Properties Group, who moved to Brooklyn from Berlin in 2007 and has two daughters ages 14 and 18. “These groups provide a wealth of information on anything and everything parents in any given neighborhood care about, from lost keys to stoop sales to recommendations for local contractors.”
Seek out local volunteer opportunities.
“These are endless, whether it’s joining a gardening club, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or donating your time to, say, the town library,” Bernstein says. “There are tons of organizations in each town—find what interests you and connect with those with similar interests and a penchant for the altruistic.”
Be active in your child’s school or PTA.
“Being involved in your school is one of the best ways to meet other families,” Rhodes says. “This then helps to connect you to the community and keeps you aware of everything that’s going on.”
Network on the playground.
“One thing about being a parent is that your social life changes considerably,” Rhodes says. “Not only do you want to socialize, but your little one does, too. When you move to a new town, I always recommend taking advantage of time on playgrounds, slow walks around the neighborhood, and time in the park to make connections with other parents in the neighborhood.”
Attend community board meetings.
“If you want to become more civically engaged, research which community board is in your neighborhood and when it meets,” Rhodes says. “There are multiple community boards that cover various neighborhoods and since those meetings are open to the public, consider attending one and introduce yourself to at least one neighbor.”