I can’t believe it’s time for school to begin already! Most of you probably have a few more weeks of summer, but here in the desert, it’s back-to-school time. For me, that also means it’s time to get back to blogging. This summer, I had great plans to write dozens of blog posts, redesign my site, and even launch a new one (KidFriendlyGlutenFree.com), but none of that happened. Instead, I had a great summer playing with my kids, and it was worth every minute! We’ve had a lot of fun, and now I’m ready to get back to work!
My kids got their back-to-school classroom assignments today, and now we’ll get to work preparing for a successful first day. New classrooms, new teachers, and new classmates make some of my kids really nervous. (They make me nervous, too!) In the next few days our family will be working a lot on how to make friends. We’ll be going over the tips I’m about to share and doing lots of role-playing. We’ll also be getting our Back-to-School Friendship Game ready for them to play during the first week of school.
8 Tips for a Great First Day!
- SMILE! I know that sounds like a small thing, but it’s huge!!! One little smile goes a long way. Remember that most of the kids at school are feeling just as nervous as you are, and they are looking for a friendly face!
- Hold your head up high and be confident. I know you might be feeling shy, but staring at the ground will not help you make friends. When others see you looking down or keeping a big frown or worried look on your face, they won’t realize that you are shy. They will simply think that you don’t want to be their friend. Remember, you are a child of God. You are something special! People will be as excited to get to know you as you are to get to know them.
- Look people in the eye, and say hello. No one likes to feel invisible (like they are in the room, but no one sees them or cares that they are there). When you look people in the eye and say hello, you immediately make them feel more comfortable. Instead of looking away when you catch someone’s eye, look right back at them, smile, and wave or say, “Hello.” Trust me. It works!
- Introduce yourself. Did I mention already that you are someone special? So are the other kids you will meet. There is no reason to be afraid that they don’t want to meet you. Be brave. Think how you feel when someone makes an effort to talk to you. They’ll feel the same way when you make an effort to talk to them. Here’s how you do it: “Hi. My name is ___________. What’s your name?” Easy, peasy.
- Ask questions. If you don’t know what to say, ask your new friend a question. People love to talk about themselves! Here are some ideas: “Are you excited about school?” “What did you do this summer?” “What’s your favorite subject?” “What do you like to do for fun?”
- Give a compliment. Look at your new friend. Can you think of something nice that you noticed about him or her? I bet you can! Don’t you love it when someone says something nice about you? Your new friend will, too. How about, “I love your hair! Did you do it yourself?” or, “Those are really cute shoes.” or, how about, “Thanks for saying hello. I was really feeling shy, and you made my day.” (For you guys out there, sorry that I don’t have any more manly suggestions for you! My children are all girls, so I’m more tuned into girl compliments! Feel free to add some manly compliments in the comment section!) :)
- Invite someone to sit by you or to play with you. Are you nervous about who you will sit by at lunch? Are you afraid you won’t have anyone to play with at recess? So are the other kids! Look for someone who doesn’t seem to know anyone. They’ll be grateful for the invitation to play or to sit together.
- Be happy and positive. No one likes to be around someone that is always grumpy and negative. Look for the good things about situations and other people. Choose to be happy, and your happiness will spread. Kids will want to be around you because of your cheerful attitude and smiling face.
Practice with Role-Playing
Now that you know the techniques, it’s time to practice! You might feel silly at first, but you’ll be a pro in no time!
- Ask your family to pretend to be your classmates.
- Hold your head up high as you enter the room, and pretend you are at school. Practice smiling and starting conversations with your family members.
- Take turns. Practice what to do when someone comes to talk to you and how to start a conversation.
- Have fun! When it’s your turn to be a member of the class, make up fake names and interests to have silly conversations. (That’s just for practicing. You’ll want to be sure to tell the truth when you talk to your new friends.)
Motivate Yourself with Back-to-School Games
Want to be sure you don’t chicken out on the first day of school? Try one or both of these games to reward yourself for setting goals to make friends.
Back-to-School Friendship Game for Kids (Project Instructions and Free Printable)
This game contains seven challenges to help you make friends during the first week of school. After school, you can get a treat for the challenges you tried!
Back-to-School Conversation-Starters for Kids (Free Printable)
Once you’ve successfully completed the challenges from the first game, try version two to get you talking to new friends with ease!
So, why do I care so much about this?
I have a profound memory of something my mom taught me while I was in high school. Like most teens, I had bad hair days and pimples that rivaled Rudolf’s red nose. On those days, I often hung my head, stopped looking people in the eye, and tried to hide. My mom gently reminded me that no one in school knew that I was having a bad hair day. No one knew that the reason I didn’t say hello was because I was feeling ugly that day. They only knew that I didn’t say hello. To teenagers that often translates to, “She doesn’t like me,” or, “She’s stuck up.” (Do people still say “stuck up” these days? That’s what they called unfriendly kids when I was growing up.)
If you think back to the kids you really liked growing up (or even the adults you like today), what do you remember? Do you remember that they always wore the cool clothes and had the coolest hair, or do you remember that they smiled and made you feel special? I’m just going to make a wild guess that you remember them for the way you felt about yourself when you were with them.
* Joyce, the awesome grandma behind WhatHappensatGrandmas.com, read this post and summed up things up perfectly. She said, “People like those who they perceive as liking them.” Thanks, Joyce! I think you got it exactly right!
And just because I think that siblings make the best friends, I’ll share one of my favorite pics of my kiddos.
I hope all goes well with the first day of school in your neck of the woods! I finished the lockers to keep the backpacks and jackets off the floor (finally)! I’ll be sharing them soon!
I’m glad you stopped by! Feel free to share your ideas for making friends in the comments.
Looking for more back-to-school ideas? Try some of these. Images are linked.
Click here to see all the fantastic sites I like to link up with each week.