12 tips on how to make new friends at secondary school

image of 3 girls at schoolOne of the biggest fears for many Grade 6 students  about going to secondary school is wondering how they will make new friends.

Whether they are going with others they already know, or going off to a secondary school all by themselves, this can be a very daunting time for many.  Some children make friends really easily, while others can find it difficult.  As you know friendships don’t happen over night and are usually formed when children have common interests.  So how do you help your child and assist them through these worries they may have?

Tips on making friends

Here are 12 tips that you can discuss with them to alleviate any concerns or anxiousness they may be feeling around having to make new friends:

  1. remind them that they already know how to make friends as they have friends now.
  2. talk to them and remind them that they are not alone – many others will be also going to school without friends and in the same situation as them. Discuss that it is natural to feel nervous or scared about a new situation and that these are normal feelings they maybe experiencing.
  3. talk to them about being themselves and not trying to be someone else and who they are not.
  4. to try and be confident – that they should be a friend to themselves by avoiding negative self thoughts.  Use helpful self-talk that is encouraging and reminder to be patient as well won’t hurt.
  5. be approachable when starting at a new school by saying ‘hello’.
  6. to smile and acknowledge someone – it goes a long way to breaking down barriers.  Remind them not to walk into a room looking at the floor or not at anyone as this isn’t a welcoming behaviour.
  7. get them to look for someone else who may also seem shy and say hello – remind them that they might even be shyer than them.
  8. introduce yourself and ask what the other person’s name is
  9. ask questions like ‘what school did you go to last year?’, ‘where do you live?’, what’s your favourite sport or subject?’
  10. be a good listener when talking to others and try and remember what they tell you.  Sometimes if you are in a group look for an opening to join into a conversation.
  11. get involved in activities that the school will have during transition days and at the start of the year as this will assist you to get to know others in your class and at the same year level.
  12. join clubs and activities at the school as this is a good way to meet other people too.

If your child is going to a different secondary school to many of their current friends, another useful thing to do is to encourage them to stay in touch and spend time with them.   Talk to them about how it is okay to feel sad about the upcoming changes but it doesn’t mean that they will forget each other because they are not going to secondary school together.  Remind them that it will be exciting to share their new school adventures when they next catch up!

As a parent just keep the lines of communication going around how to make friends and continue to offer support and guidance – here’s to many more friendships for your children.

If you’d like any assistance with the transition process please do get in touch as I run workshops around this for groups and can conduct 1:1 sessions too.