Part 2: Before and After the Move…Helping Your Child Make New Friends!

Child's first day of school, going to school

First Day of School

Best friends are one of the joys of childhood, and most times, a child just needs one good friend to make everything about their new location, OK! Helping your child find that new “best friend,” when they re-locate, sometimes requires a little help. Depending on the age of your child, the type of help varies, but making wise choices in friends is a worthy goal for any parent to be involved in with their child.

Before you move…

Find families in your new location who have similar values and who have children the same age as yours. Plan a dinner together and let your child meet their child. If your child has a Facebook page or email, let them begin exchanging info with their new acquaintance. Plan an outing to a children’s place of amusement and invite the child who will be in their new neighborhood to go with you.

Let your child visit their school prior to their move. Many schools will help your child by having a current student take them around when they visit. Let them meet their teacher and some of their class mates if possible. Some schools have an orientation for new students in the summer. Be sure and attend and meet some other parents while you are there and set up a “Play Date” for your child with another new student. The other new student will be eager to make a new friend as well.

After you move…

    1. Activities help children meet other friends. Enroll your child in a sports activity, or in an academic or arts class. They will meet new friends there as well. Begin attending the local church, temple, mosque, or synagogue, as soon as you can and participate in their social events for children.
    2. After a few weeks in school and after meeting parents, invite several children to an event at your home. It could be a movie night, attending the local football game together, a pizza party, or a bowling night. Children enjoy coming to see your child when they are comfortable in your home. Let everyone know your home is a great place to visit and they are welcome there. Children don’t care about the décor or how many things you have, they just know when they are accepted and loved.
    3. Get involved in their school activities. Volunteer to be a room mother, or be a substitute teacher in their school. Send special cupcakes or cookies in their lunch to share with a friend, or make their lunch bag look like an animal or put a special encouraging note in it. Sometimes decorations or special treats at lunch are a conversation piece and will help attract children to your child in a positive way.
Child's first day of school, after school, coming home from school

First Day After School!

  1. Teach your child how to make friends. Most children are by nature a little shy. Suggest questions they can ask other children to start conversations, such as: “Do you play sports?” “ How long have you attended this school?” “Do you have any brothers and sisters?” “What’s your favorite movie?’ “What’s your favorite music?” “What’s your favorite pizza?” Let your child help with the questions. Remind your child that to make friends you have to be a friend. Encourage them to find another child who needs a friend and help them feel included. Sometimes, when a child’s focus is on someone else they forget their own insecurities.

Be sensitive to your child’s moods. They will miss their old friends. Help them make phone calls, write emails, send pictures and keep up with those they have loved from their past. It is normal for them to feel a little scared about their first day of school. Let them know you understand and be positive!

Before long, your child will have more friends then your house can hold!