Today more than ever, being part of a community plays a huge role in the happiness of everyone involved. A sense of community can be key to good health, and community relationships are building blocks for happy families. Research is even proving it.
Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey showed that a sense of community and belonging was strongly related to one’s self-perceived health status:
“Compared with people reporting a weak sense of belonging to their local community, those who felt very strongly connected had nearly twice the odds of reporting excellent or very good health…and the odds of reporting excellent or very good health increased with the strength of sense of community belonging.”
Connecting with and supporting those around you, and seeking their help when needed, can make a huge difference in everyone’s lives. It’s easy to assemble in the summer months by holding a block party, for instance—but how about during the depths of winter?
Here are 6 great ways to easily foster community in your neighbourhood:
- Organize a play day at the gym: If it’s too cold to play outside, book the gym at the school or local church and get the kids together for a play day, or head to the local park if it isn’t too cold.
- Start an online community group: While technology should not be the only way we connect, having a neighbourhood Facebook page, online community directory, or group chat are quick ways to share information, ask for help, or plan gatherings. There are even apps for that, like Nextdoor!
- Check on seniors in the neighbourhood: Winter can be a lonely and challenging period, particularly when the holiday season arrives. Take the kids and visit any seniors or those living alone. Offer to shovel the driveway, drive them to an appointment, do some grocery shopping, or just spend time with them indoors!
- Hold a community swap: Gather families at a central location and swap books, clothes, recipes, and other items. It’s a chance to get to know each other, and also acts as an easy way to declutter and reuse household items.
- Start a neighbourhood book club: It’s not all about the kids! A neighbourhood book club is a great way to connect with others once a month. Different neighbours can host the event each meet, and everyone can bring a delicious snack to share. Feel free to invite the kids to play while the adults discuss the book, or even encourage a kid’s book club in the room next door!
- Have a block party anyway: Even on the cooler days of winter, it’s still possible to enjoy time outside! Pick a weekend day to get the neighbours together over some hot chocolate and games. Make a bonfire if it’s allowed in your neighbourhood, and don’t hesitate to get the kids involved building snowmen, ice castles, and igloos!