With warmer days approaching, start thinking outside the box for ways to encourage some connections among the neighborhood brood.  Oftentimes, when the weather is chilly and the days are short, we lose touch with those that we spend endless summer nights chasing around the front yard and riding bikes up and down the block.  So, get everyone together for a Rise-and-Shine party!

The party idea is simple: gather the neighbor kids and their families together for an early-morning delight.  Host it outdoors if the weather is warm.  Dress is casual, and pajamas are welcome.  Serve up bagels, fruit, milk and juice, muffins, cereals and even donuts and coffee for the grown ups.  The key is to keep it simple and low-key.  Many people may be on their way to sports events or work, so make it easy on those folks as well.

Invitations can be anything from an electronic (email) message or a printed card.  Be sure to invite children and adults for adequate supervision and a chance to catch up with some big-people, too.  As the host, try to set as much of it up the night before.

In one neighborhood, as the year went on, families took turns hosting the Rise and Shine party each weekend.  It is a great way to connect with neighbors and reinforce good relations with the children!