As adults, sometimes it’s difficult to understand how challenging it can be for your child to adjust to new changes like starting at a new school. There are many challenges a child can face, including making new friends.
For most children, starting at a new school can be stressful. It’s very common for children and they may not feel completely comfortable meeting new people or being around new people. However, this is a completely natural reaction. There are many ways that you can help your child learn effective ways to interact with new children. You can also help your child develop the skills and confidence to meet new friends and get them talking and playing.
To help your child if they are starting at a new school, or if they have problems with making new friends, you can:
- Make a list. Help your child brainstorm a list of qualities they want in a friend. Think outside the box.
- Help your child learn some conversation starting topics that are interesting to other children. Think toys, T.V. shows, games, vacations.
- Encourage your child to interest them in any after school events that are taking place.
- Research with them to see if there are any activities centered around their hobbies. It will help them meet other children who share the same hobbies.
- Teach your children good manners and empathy by showing them how to be a good friend (remember, children want to play with others who are fun and caring, not bossy and demeaning).
Keep in mind, it’s also important for your child to keep in touch with their old friends, even if they are making new friends at a new school. Thankfully, at this day in age, keeping in touch is easier than ever. Your child can send emails, write letters, chat through social media, or make phone calls to old friends so they can keep that connection while they are developing new friendships.
If your child is already familiar with their school and have established a friendship with other children, help them include new students in a way that is warm and friendly. You can help your child reach out to new children in their age group by:
- Developing their conversation skills (you could try role-playing where you, the parent, pretends to be the new child)
- Encourage your own child to follow the conversation and ask questions (be supportive and encouraging while they learn these useful communication skills)
- Brainstorm some interesting conversation starters. Help equip your child with the tools they need to have a conversation with someone new.
- Try inviting their new friend to the park, or for just some fun backyard playtime. Provide both children with a comfortable and open environment to help facilitate a conversation without any added stress.
- If your child already participates in after-school activities and a new child has joined, help them reach out to them so they feel welcomed.