Author Topic: How to be a good neighbor-#6  (Read 3358 times)

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half_dollars

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How to be a good neighbor-#6
« on: December 20, 2012, 11:57:04 PM »
DH accepted a new job 10 hours from our current home.  We have lived apart for 4 months-DH in a 2nd floor apartment, me and the 3 kiddos at our house.  Our original plan was to move when we sold the house.  We knew it would take a few months to sell the hous, and we thought the kiddos and I would visit for long weekends.  However, DS1's sporting schedule resulted in DH driving to see us every weekend, leaving after work on Fri and driving back to NewCity after lunch on Sun.

After much discussion, we decided to come stay with DH in NewCity, going back to our old house once a month to check on things until the house sells.  We have a friend who is checking on the house for us in our absence.

So, the apartment goes from having 1 adult who was gone 80% of the time to having 3 kiddos and 1 adult around 99% of the time.

DH has been warning (um, reminding) the downstairs neighbors that we were coming.  The neighbors are not at all worried about the added noise.  I have been working with the kiddos on not running, not stomping, not yelling, being calm, etc-all things they weren't allowed to do in our house, but if they did, it didn't annoy anyone.  My oldest 2, ages 6 and 4, understand, although they do forget.  However, my youngest, who is 1, just isn't at a point where he understands.

I realize it will be an adjustment.  But, I'm looking for suggestions on how to make the transition easy for our downstairs neighbors.  We will be in the apartment until May.  The neighbors are a retired couple and their daughter who is a nurse and works odd hours/inconsistent schedule.  I homeschool my oldest and will probably start some subjects with the 4-year-old, as we haven't started looking for preschools for her, so there wouldn't be the normal quieter hours during the school day due to the kiddos being away.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 07:00:29 PM by half_dollars »

TootsNYC

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Re: How to be a good neighbor
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2012, 01:20:22 AM »
I would say, first stop warning or reminding them. You're probably making it seem worse than it is and you're setting it up for them being right and you guys being the ones who can get complained about.

Then, practice w/ the kids, perhaps. Shorten the distances between things (coffee tables, maybe?) so the kids can't work up as much speed.

Create a code word that you can say that will instantly get the kids to walk softly. Practice it, make it a game. With rewards and punishments for compliance or non-.
Rewards can be as simple as a sticker or a high-five; punishments should be very "consequences" related, as in they have to sit down for 20 minutes or something.

And stop apologizing for living.

bopper

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Re: How to be a good neighbor
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2012, 10:07:45 AM »
Also, maybe stop by the neighbors with some cookies or something and introduce the children.  Don't apologize, but just so they see them as people and not stomping feet.

WillyNilly

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Re: How to be a good neighbor
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2012, 10:21:43 AM »
Well first and foremost: rugs! Make sure the floors are covered, it does a lot to muffle sound.

Next make sure you have some scheduled outside, run around time and scout out a good indoor place for bad weather days. This will allow your kids time to run and burn off steam, as well as give your neighbors some total silence time.

I'd also make a point to introduce the kids to the neighbors and maybe even have them draw the neighbors a picture or give them a small craft or something - its a lot easier to forgive kids you know &  like then kids who are standoffish and unknown.

Isisnin

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Re: How to be a good neighbor
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2012, 12:06:40 PM »
rugs everywhere.  With padding underneath.  Other things also act as sound absorbers: curtains; upholstered furniture; books, etc.

I went from an upstairs neighbor with lots of rugs, upholstered furniture, draperies, etc., to one with very little things (but did have a small rug in the living room).  I could hear the woman with very little when she was on the phone!  Not what she said, but the sound of her voice.  I had barely heard the previous woman with all the "sound absorbers".

Congratulations on the job and new hometown!

camlan

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Re: How to be a good neighbor
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2012, 10:20:50 AM »
Even if the apartment is carpeted, a few area rugs over the carpet in the areas where the children will run/play the most will help. The more between them and the downstairs apartment, the better. Isisnin is right--walls of bookcases, curtains, upholstered furniture--all this blocks or breaks up the sounds.

Also echoing WillyNilly about getting the kids out of the apartment frequently to burn off their energy where it won't affect others.

Having been a downstairs neighbor, I will say that what bothers me the most is not the necessary noise--footsteps, water in the pipes, chairs scraping on the floor. People have to live and that usually involves some noise.

It's the unnecessary noises that get to me. Loud music or TV, raised voices, thumping on the floor (maybe the kids should play with blocks on a table, not on the floor), random banging, surround sound set-ups. The squeals of children playing happily don't bother me, but children crying endlessly with the parents seeming to make no effort to calm them does. A toddler running across the floor--well, that's what they do. An adult stomping around at 2 am and waking me up--completely unnecessary. People can learn to walk quietly.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


half_dollars

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Re: How to be a good neighbor-#6
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 06:34:01 PM »
Well, we've been here 6 days, and the neighbors are ready for us to go.  I'm not sure if its because they were used to DH being gone most of the time and now they hear noise, or if we are really THAT loud. 

I sent DH and the kiddos down with a platter of cookies on Sunday.  DH introduced the kiddos, and the neighbors asked when we were leaving.  DH said we had a trip back to our house planned for sometime next month, and they just said, "Oh."  They then hurried on to say it wasn't really bad, but our kiddos sure are energetic.

The apartment is fully carpeted.  We put the toys in the room above the neighbors' computer room.  We don't have a TV or stereo, nor did I bring our Wii along.  We have been going to bed around 7:30-my older two will lay on their beds and watch Netflix until they're sleepy.

I know that they hear the baby running everywhere.  I've tried the whole "tip-toe" as a game thing, which lasts for a few minutes, but then he's off again.  And the little 28-lb boy sounds like a heard of elephants every time he moves!

I'll keep trying, though.  We've been out of the apartment about 2 hours every day, and will start our evening activities soon.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 07:00:57 PM by half_dollars »

Hmmmmm

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Re: How to be a good neighbor
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2012, 06:39:29 PM »
You are super sweet to be so aware of your family's impact on others.  Other than reminding your kids to use their indoor feet I don't have any ideas what ekes you can do.  The downstairs neighbor chose to live in an apartment knowing there would be upstairs neighbors.  I'd quit fretting about it.

bonyk

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Re: How to be a good neighbor
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2012, 06:44:59 PM »
The downstairs neighbor chose to live in an apartment knowing there would be upstairs neighbors.  I'd quit fretting about it.

Agree 100%.  Anyone who expects silence in an apartment, is going to be sorely disappointed.   Also, if you keep apologizing, neighbors may subconsciously become more irritated at the noise than they would have been.

half_dollars

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Re: How to be a good neighbor-#6
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2012, 07:14:39 PM »
We honestly haven't apologized.  The neighbors asked when we would be leaving.  I made DH take the cookies to kind of butter them up.

I remember being annoyed with my upstairs neighbor when I lived in my first apartment complex apartment.  But, I think it was more that he lived an off-schedule from me, so he was loud when I wanted sleep.  I'd hate for that to happen to our neighbors.  But, the reality is that they probably will wake my kiddos more often, due to them going to bed earlier.  We already heard them yelling for their dogs outside, but I can't hear anything from them downstairs.

mrkitty

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Re: How to be a good neighbor-#6
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2012, 08:53:47 PM »
I think you're being very kind and considerate of your downstairs neighbors. But I echo what the other posters have said: you owe no apologies, and you certainly have nothing to explain - it's none of their business if or when you are planning to move.

You have been more than accommodating. I say at this point, they need to accept that they chose to live in a bottom-floor unit, and with that comes the natural sounds of living, however much one tries to mitigate it. Young children are by nature lively and energetic, and as a parent, you've done everything that can be done to keep them as quiet and unobtrusive as possible. What are you supposed to do? Tie them up and gag them? I don't think so!

Me and DH live in a one-floor apartment with attached neighbors, kind of like a duplex. They have young kids, too. To their credit, the children are very quiet; it's the adults who are rather loud. The only thing we hear is cabinets banging shut - I think their kitchen shares a wall with our living room. But we are used to it, and it's no big deal. And sometimes they have guests over and they stand around talking right in front of our front window/entrance until 3 a.m. That can get a little annoying, but it doesn't happen that often.

Bottom line, no matter where you live there's going to be some kind of annoyance somewhere along the way. I would personally much rather hear the joyful sounds of children laughing and playing than a knock-out-drag-out screaming match between roommates. I've experienced both. Trust me - the children aren't that loud.  ;D
« Last Edit: December 26, 2012, 08:57:31 PM by mrkitty »
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25wishes

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Re: How to be a good neighbor-#6
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2012, 08:15:20 AM »
If you are all in bed by 7:30, that would be 90% of being a good neighbor for me. I can put up with noises during the day, that are part of normal living. Loud noises when I am trying to sleep, not so much.