It is the beginning of a new school year. The first few weeks are filled with excitement, fresh energy and possibly a bit of anxiety. Especially for those who are starting their school careers in a new and foreign environment. Having to make new friends in a class full of unknown faces can be a daunting task.
“Having friends helps children to feel more confident. They adapt more easily and enjoy school more, which in turn has a positive effect on their academic lives,” says primary school principal of Riverside College, Lynne Arbuckle. “Having to make new friends can be intimidating and some children can feel apprehensive and shy. Equipping your child with some basic new school survival skills could be very useful.”
Ms Arbuckle suggests the following to help your child make new friends
- Start small. Suggest that your child introduces themselves to just one or two children and see how it goes. Those children may be able to introduce your child to others from there.
- Don’t be scared. Help your child to see making new friends as something that is fun, and not intimidating. Get them excited at the thought of meeting new and interesting people. Talk about what they may learn from one another.
- Be kind. If your child is kind and friendly to others, chances are that their classmates will not only notice this but reciprocate too.
- Be yourself. Let your child know that they are great just as they are. And that they do not need to change themselves in order to make friends.
- Be open minded. Encourage your children not to judge people, especially before they get to know them properly. Many friendships have blossomed after initial bad impressions.