It is the beginning of a new school year – the first few weeks are filled with excitement, energy and possibly a bit of anxiety, especially for the Grade Rs and Grade 1s who are starting their school careers in a new and foreign environment.
Making new friends in a class full of unknown faces can be a daunting task. “Having friends helps learners to feel more confident, they adapt easier and enjoy school more. It also has a positive effect on their academic lives,” says primary school principal of Riverside College, Lynne Arbuckle. “Making friends can be intimidating, and some learners can feel apprehensive and shy. Equipping your child with some basic new school survival skills can be useful.”
Lynne suggests the following tips to help your child make new friends:
- Start small – suggest that your child introduces themselves to just one or two people and see how it goes. Those few people may be able to introduce your child to others from there.
- Don’t be scared – encourage your child to view making friends as something fun rather than intimidating. Try to get him excited at the thought of meeting new and interesting people and what he may learn from them.
- Be kind – if your child is kind and friendly to others, chances are that his classmates will not only notice this but reciprocate it.
- Be yourself – let your child know that he is great just as he is, and he doesn’t need to change in order to make friends.
- Be open-minded – encourage your child not to judge people, especially before he’s had a chance to get to know them properly. Many friendships have blossomed after initial bad impressions.