Having friends at school is a pivotal piece in the ‘happy at school’ jigsaw puzzle. Children who have positive relationships with peers are more likely to feel safe and happy at school compared to those who struggle to form friendships and feel as though they have little connections or sense of belonging. With the rise of technology and prevalence of bullying, parents may be concerned when their children are expressing a lack of quality friendships. It is important to teach our children the social cues and skills needed to make friends at school themselves. Here are some simple, yet effective, strategies to make friends:
1. Ask a friend or teacher to introduce you
If your child is new to the school, he will obviously not know many people on the first day. If he knows one person, he can ask them to introduce their friends. This way, your child’s friend circle can grow much quicker.
2. Say hello and smile
A joyful smile is the greatest way to introduce yourself to someone. A smile knows no language barrier and is an instant way of saying hello.
3. Volunteer to help
Does the school have opportunities for student to be volunteers? Perhaps there is a buddy program or playground equipment and helper roster. Many lovely friendships can form from volunteering with people who are kind and thoughtful.
4. Sit on the buddy bench
In some schools they have a special designated bench seat where children who would like to play but have no one to play with can sit. Other children can then invite these children to join in with their games or offer friendship. This initiative works well for those children who may be shy and have trouble approaching others.
5. Get involved
If your child’s school offers different activities at lunchtime, like coding club or a particular sport, encourage your child to sign up and get involved. Having the opportunity to bond over a shared experience outside the classroom is a great way to make friends.
Building friendships can sometimes be difficult but with these strategies, your children will be equipped to make many positive connections with their peers.
As featured in District Gazette.
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.