Toddler Welcome Wagon
By Casey Pitts
This spring and summer families with preschoolers will be moving to military installations all over the world. Itís never easy being the new kid on the block. But you can be the leader in connecting moms in your community. Here are a few ideas for you and your preschooler to welcome newcomers to your neighborhood.
- Make preschool friendly snack sacks like prepackaged drinks and a small toy. (We save an extra toy from a kidís meal when we go out to lunch.) Your child may decorate the bag with colors or stickers. Visit your neighbor and let your child present a welcome sack to his new friend.
- Go for a walk. Many moms living on base enjoy taking neighborhood walks. Invite your new neighbor for a stroll. Plan to meet several times and invite other moms of toddlers to join you. Youíll be building vital Connections and getting the chance to exercise, too.
- Host a gathering in your backyard or community playground. Make simple invitations and let your child join you in taking them to the new neighbors. Serve something as simple as juice and graham crackers. Spend time getting to know each other, and tell them about your local MOPS group.
- Create a listing of info for moms and tots. Include fast food, parks, good teenage babysitters, MOPS meetings, motherís day out programs and more. Share this with your new neighbors. Your Family Support Center may want to include your info for incoming families at events such as Heartlink.
- Out of the high chair stage? Donít need those baby toys? Hang on to items and be available to loan them out to newcomers whose household goods are not unpacked yet. Extra items also come in handy when you invite new neighbors for a play date.
- Offer your child the opportunity to create a card or poster to welcome new friends. Leave it on your neighborís front door addressed to the new child. You might even mail it. What child doesnít enjoy getting mail?
Take this time to teach your child the joy of welcoming someone new. Who knows? Maybe your new best friend is moving in right down the street.