When it comes to trusting people with my kids, I'm the first to admit that I struggle. Aside from the kids running riot and not wanting to burden someone with having to entertain them, I simply don't trust many people to take good enough care of them.
However, there are a handful of people that I trust with my life - and my kids... They're my neighbours, but I've known them for a fraction of the time I've known my 'real family'.
When my family and I first moved into our new home, we did what most new homeowners do - got stuck into the decorating, unpacked loads of boxes and completely forgot to make an effort to get to know our new neighbours. In fact, 57% of people asked in a recent survey by DistinctiveChesterfields.com said that they don't even know their neighbours' names; even though they had been living next door to them for a number of years.
That said, I wanted my two young children to have friends they could play with on our quiet street. Instead of them sitting in and playing video games, I wanted to encourage my kids to play outside and have the fond memories that I have of having a kick-about with the children who lived on our road.
My opportunity to get to know our new neighbours came when they were planning a renovation for their home. I'd spotted the skip in the garden and (what seemed like) hundreds of wall panels being taken out. Being the nosey parker I am, I wanted to know what was happening - and why we could hear drilling at any given moment throughout the day.
We spent a few minutes chatting about his plans and after a few minutes, his kids came out to introduce themselves to mine. It was just as awkward as many kids' meetings go - they were shy for a matter of seconds and then gabbed about how much they love the new Pokémon Go game for hours on end.
Ever since that moment, my kids have loved having friends on the street where we live. They use our neighbours' kids as play-mates when they come home from school, as well as friends to unload all of their worries on - problems that aren't often discussed with a parent.
This flourishing relationship between two primary school-aged kids living next door to each other is something I love to watch. They're not like other kids who just want to sit and chat via Xbox Live - they want to spend time outdoors, explore the hidden gems of our local area and get their first taste of independence.
I'm extremely grateful for my neighbours. Without them and their children, my kids wouldn't have made such good childhood friends and memories that'll stick with them throughout their lifetime.Suggest a correction