Chances are, when your child starts high school they won’t be going along with all their peers from primary school. For those going to a completely new school and starting afresh, here are some ways to help them ease the transition and make new friends.
Making friends isn’t always easy – think about how you feel about walking up to a stranger and introducing yourself. Now cast your mind back to how shy and insecure you felt as a teen, and you start to understand how your child may feel about starting a new school without any old primary-school friends as backup. But you can help.
Tips for making friends
It’s probable that it’s been a long time since your child has had to make new friends, so they might need some guidance in how to do it. Sidling up next to some kid on the monkey bars isn’t going to cut it at high school/college. But here are some tips you can offer to help make it easier:
- Remind your child that other kids will be in the same predicament, and that a friendly smile and a ‘hi’ will be welcome.
- Practice conversational starters. Sit down and help your child practice some simple conversation topics that they can try when they sit next to a new friend, “Hey, what did you think of that scene in Glee last night?” or “Have you seen that new movie that’s showing? I love comedies.”
- Encourage joining any school actives. Drama class, sports and art classes are a great way for your child to find like-minded kids who share the same interests.
- Help them spot another friend who’s keen to find a friend. Chances are, if there’s another year seven sitting by themselves or hanging out at the library at lunchtime, they’re also new. Finding someone else who seems lonely to say ‘hi’ to can help.
At the bus stop
Catching the bus or train to school can also help your child find friends from school who live nearby – and who might be keen on hanging out after school. While it’s tempting to drive them to school every day, loosening those reins a little can help them find friends.
After school activities
Whether it’s team sports, music, drama or art classes encouraging your child to join in with after-school activities is an easy way to make new friends – after all, they’ve got at least one thing in common!
High school kids may think they’re too old for playdates – but they’re not. Encourage your child to invite friends home after school or on the weekend. Help out by having something fun for them to do together: playing on the Wii or the PlayStation, having a swim, or going bowling. If kids bond together over an activity it helps their friendship blossom.
Good friends will help make the high school years go much more smoothly. If you can do whatever it takes to help your child develop a strong group of friends, you’ll be helping them through their high school days with more ease.
This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot.