Happy Birthday, Mr. Rodgers! Did you know March 20th is Fred Roger’s birthday? Growing up, Mr. Rogers was one of us Aunts’ favorite shows. And now we love to watch Mr. Roger’s DVDs with our kids. What an accomplished man and such a role model for parents, educators, and all who teach and play with kiddos! I think we feel a special connection now to Mr. Rogers because he was born and worked in our neck of the woods.
One of the best and well-known songs and mantras of the show is the classic, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine; Could you be mine…”
We are SO blessed to live in a quiet little neighborhood where we can interact, play, chat, and share with our neighbors. Being a good neighbor is easy when you live by people that end up being friends. We’ve got some great folks nearby and as far away as next door, we’ve become friends with people who were once total strangers. The kids play outside with each other, there is always someone you can text and ask for a cup of flour, and if you need a shoulder to cry on, a smiling face or a friendly wave. We love to play outside and are always waving to neighbors…or in the kids’ case, yelling, “HEEEEELLLLLLOOOOO!” down the street.
Be a Good Neighbor
One day recently, we made a special delivery to special neighbors with a little boy about the age of Baby Girl. We had finished up playing with our fine motor color sorting activity and thought our little friend next door would love to play as much as we did. It was so nice to get a text later that day saying how much our little friend loved playing with our special delivery!
How many ways can you think of to be a good neighbor?
Wave, pull in trash cans, shovel snow from a walkway, deliver cupcakes or other goodies, invite a new (or old) neighbor over for dinner, arrange a neighborhood yard sale (collaborative de-cluttering makes everyone happy, right??!!).
Tips for Being Neighborly
To help encourage neighborliness with your little ones at home, here are some tips inspired by the “Neighbor Day” episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood that will help show your children that doing something nice for their neighbors can be a rewarding experience that makes them feel good about themselves!
- Volunteer!: Check out your local food bank, library or neighborhood park for opportunities for your family to contribute, whether it is going through your house with your preschooler and donating extra canned goods or old books or helping plant brand-new trees!
- Play outside and meet new people!: Bring your young children for a fun visit at the neighborhood playground, so they can make new friends and interact with old friends, too!
- Ask to help!: When your family sees someone who might need a hand, offer it! Work together with an elderly neighbor who needs extra assistance in their yard or even have your preschooler help take care of a friend’s pet while they’re away on an end-of-summer trip. You can also just talk with your child about times when you helped someone in need.
- Smile and say, hello!: Sometimes the littlest things makes the biggest difference! When you are walking through your own neighborhood with your kids, greet passing neighbors with a friendly smile and a “hello” – you might just brighten someone’s day!
- Make Coupons for Giving: Help your child create homemade paper coupons for kind and helpful acts, like “a hug,” “help with household chores” or “reading a book to a younger sibling.”
To honor Fred Rogers and in celebration of neighbors, we’ll be participating in “Be My Neighbor Day” on March 22, 2014.
Be My Neighbor Day
The United Way of Allegheny County, in partnership with The Fred Rogers Company and WQED, presents “Be My Neighbor Day.” On March 22, 2014, four YMCA locations across the Pittsburgh area will host a variety of fun, free, family-friendly activities to give children the opportunity to practice being neighborly. Daniel Tiger of the PBS series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will make his first Pittsburgh appearance as part of the event. (Times vary by location).
“’Be My Neighbor Day’ builds on the indomitable legacy of Fred Rogers, who for more than 40 years taught kindness, generosity and respect to thousands of children and families,” said William Isler, president, The Fred Rogers Company. “Like our new series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, this event embodies the values Fred stood for and carries his timeless message to a new generation of children.”
Inspired by an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, “Be My Neighbor Day” encourages neighbors to come together to help one another. Families will learn about acts of kindness, work together on craft projects to benefit their local communities, participate in YMCA Healthy Kids activities, and have the opportunity to meet Daniel Tiger.
Additionally, in honor of Rogers’ favorite attire, families are encouraged to bring a new or gently worn sweater to the event. Sweater donations will be distributed to needy families throughout the region.
Interested in joining us?? If you’re local to Pittsburgh, we would love to meet you!!
Those interested in participating are encouraged to visit www.bemyneighborday.org for more information and to register at one of four locations: Baierl Family YMCA (Sewickley), Western Area YMCA (Coraopolis), Penn Hills YMCA, or Thelma Lovett YMCA (Centre Avenue). There is no cost to attend.