7 Tips for Making Friends and Fitting in at your New School
Starting in a new school? Embrace this exciting adventure and adopt these seven tips to make sure you hit the ground running with your new classmates.
1. Make a visit before you start
Before your first day, you can take steps to smooth the process of heading to a new school. So your new environment will be more familiar, ask one or both of your parents to join you on a trip to visit the school before your start date.
Here you can get to know your new teacher, say hi to classmates and generally get a feel for the place. When it comes to your first day, you’ll be glad that you already know where the cafeteria, school hall and playground are.
It’ll mean less time trying to find everything on your first day – which can feel a bit overwhelming.
2. Introduce yourself
When it does come to the first day, put on your biggest smile, and be sure to introduce yourself to as many people as possible. Your teacher will no doubt help to introduce you to the rest of the class, but don’t be afraid to speak up and start to feel like you already belong.
It can be tough when you’re around new people who all know one another – particularly if you’re shy. But remember they’re just like you and their thoughts and interests will probably be very similar to yours.
Come out of your shell and get to know everyone. Before you know it, you’ll be making your first friends in your new school.
3. Get involved
This one is especially important. One of the best ways to make friends with likeminded schoolmates is to meet them in after-school clubs. If you’re into sports, play a musical instrument, or just want to socialise with your peers after class, be sure to join some extracurricular activities.
The more you throw yourself into these clubs, the best chance you’ll have to feel a part of your new school and meet other children who have the same interests as you.
Once you feel comfortable in these after-school clubs and you’ve made a few new friends, go beyond extracurricular activity and look for local sports or other interest groups. If you’ve moved to a new area and you’re into football, ask other members of your school team where they play and sign up!
4. Lean on anyone you know
This might not be a possibility for you, but if there is anyone at the school you already know, reach out to them for help. It might be a cousin or other family member, or maybe your next-door neighbour also attends this school.
If so, they can be someone to sit with at lunchtime or walk home with after school. Having a familiar face in school from day one can help alleviate any lonely feelings you might have got from wandering around on your own.
It can be more difficult to work your way into friendship groups if you’re by yourself, so knowing someone who is already established in the school could offer you an icebreaker and a way in.
If there isn’t anyone you know in the school then try and find other new people. If it’s the beginning of a new school year there are bound to be other children who are in the same boat as you, looking for someone to help them through those first difficult few days.
If you can’t find them or don’t know who they are, you could always ask an adult. Always remember that in schools, people are happy to help. If you’re having trouble making friends in those first few days, just ask and help will be at hand.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask
No matter how much time you spend looking around before you join your new school, that first couple of days will probably bring some confusion. When you’re a little lost looking for your next classroom or the nearest bathroom, don’t be afraid to just ask.
If nothing else, it allows you to introduce yourself to someone new. Quickly, the number of people who recognise your face will increase, and the pace at which you settle in will quicken.
6. Know that being scared is normal
Whatever feelings of anxiety or worry that you’re feeling, remember that this is all totally normal. People of all ages, including your mum and dad, have the exact same feelings when moving jobs or houses into a new community.
Ultimately that’s what helps you to overcome those feelings. Every child and teacher at your new school will know what it’s like to be “the new kid” and not know anyone. Having that experience makes us all much more accepting of those who find themselves in that situation.
Once you’ve settled into your new school, you too will draw on your experiences and help other new kids find their feet.
7. Be yourself
If you take one piece of advice into your new school, then let this be it; just be yourself. Pretending to be someone you’re not or someone you think everyone wants you to be is the easiest way to struggle to settle in your new environment.
We all naturally gravitate towards those who have similar interests and personalities to our own. By being yourself, you’ll form firm friendships much faster, helping you to settle in and thrive in your new school.
Take the tips we’ve discussed here and soon you’ll be wondering what all the fuss about before you started your new school. To find out how we help all our children flourish in their new school, head over to the Nord Anglia Education website and find a school near you.