When you’ve just moved in, it’s natural for you and your family to feel a bit separated from the new community. Your new neighborhood is filled with all kinds of people, parks, and pets. Sometimes it takes a while to get settled and really feel like home, but you can speed up the process by doing these 10 things:

1.  Go for a walk in the neighborhood to familiarize yourself with the new surroundings. Bring your dogs so they can also get familiar with the area and be able to find their way back home should they ever get out.

2.  Host a house-warming party and invite all your new neighbors. Appetizers and a few cold beverages are great incentives to get your neighbors interested. While they’re over, ask them questions about the community and see what places to see and things to do are a “must” in the neighborhood.

3.  Throw a community event tailored to involve as many people in the neighborhood as possible. Consider organizing a neighborhood 4 of July bike parade or a Thanksgiving potluck. You don’t have to be an incredible cook to host something like this; just provide the venue, some simple decorations, and ask everyone else to bring a dish or drink.

4.  Walk across the street and introduce yourself to your neighbors. Make a simple goal to meet one new neighbor a week by knocking on their front door, or commit to starting a brief conversation when you see a neighbor out in their front yard.

5.  Make yourself available. Wash your car in front of your house; plan to meet neighbors when you walk your dog; sip iced tea while reading a book from your front porch; watch your kids play in the front yard and look for other parents. When you make yourself available, it’ll be easier for other neighbors to see you and introduce themselves.

6.  Behave as a tourist in your new town. Go on adventures to local parks, restaurants, and other community-favorite places.  Ask your new friends for suggestions. Why not invite them to go with you?

7.  Sign up for community newsletters. Most local news can be emailed to you directly. A quick search on the Internet will provide you with everything you need to get plugged in with what’s local in the neighborhood.

8.  Check out the city hall and recreational centers. There will be no shortage of suggestions for dining, activities, and groups to get involved with.

9.  Volunteer at a local animal shelter, church, or after-school program (or just in your children’s classrooms).

10.Join a club or class. Whether it’s for fitness, crafting, or anything else, you’ll be sure to meet lots of locals when you get involved in what the community has to offer.

Once of the business of moving wears off, it can be difficult to know what to do next. You’re left with a new house and a new neighborhood. Feeling at home in a new community takes some initial effort on your part, but the payoff is huge. Soon you’ll have other friends reaching out to you. So go on, get out there! There’s much to explore and joy around the corner.