Coming into a new school can be very difficult for anyone. You’re in a new environment with people you don’t know instead of your old friends. If you want to help a new kid feel welcome, making a good first impression is crucial. From there, you’ll want to help them get a handle on their new school and integrate themselves fully.
EditMaking a Good First Impression
- Greet them warmly. Reach out to the new kid first. They might feel nervous or anxious about reaching out to other students, whether it’s for friendship or to get help. By being the first to talk to them, you’re letting them know there’s nothing to worry about. Be positive when talking to them and be kind. Try to greet them early in the school day; this gives you a chance to get to know them and help them out throughout the day.
- You want to be sure to introduce yourself by name and make them feel welcome. For example, you can say: “Hi! My name’s Lucy! I’m so happy to meet you. What’s your name?”
- Find out more about them. Learn a little about them by asking questions. Show that you’re interested in them and want to learn more. Asking about their interests will help you see if you have any points in common with them. You’ll also be able to suggest extracurricular activities for them, or even set them up with future friends.
- It’s best to do this outside of class. You don’t want to get the new kid in trouble with their new teachers. Do this in breaks between classes or at lunchtime.
- Asking them what activities they were involved with at their old school is a great way to help guide them towards activities they can do at their new school.
- Talk just a little about yourself. Don’t be afraid to go into your own interests as well. This can help develop a bond with the new kid, especially if you have interests in common. It also gives you a chance to suggest after-school activities for them to try.
- You should give the new kid a bit of information about yourself at the beginning of a school day when you introduce yourself. Something as simple as “I play trombone in the school band” gives them an idea of your interests.
- If your interests involve meeting up after school or on weekends, talk to the new kid about that the day before your meet up. This gives them a chance to know ahead of time, and can be an opportunity for you to invite them to come with you.
EditIntegrating the New Kid
- Make sure the new kid is seated near you. It’ll be easier for you to help them through the school day if you’re near them in class. Speak to your teacher about sitting next to the new student. As long as you explain that you’re doing it to be helpful, there shouldn’t be a problem.
- Invite them to sit with you at lunch. One of the scariest things for a new kid is not knowing where to sit at lunch. Everyone already knows where to sit, and they’re usually stuck eating alone. Save a seat for the new kid and your table and you’ll make a great impression.
- If you’re used to sitting with your friends, this is a great chance to introduce them to the new kid.
- Introduce the new kid to your friends. Don’t try and take full responsibility for the new kid feeling welcome. Introduce them to your friends and to others in your class. This will help them make more friendships for the future and feel comfortable even when you’re not around. They might even find a group they completely click with and integrate them completely.
EditHelping Them Handle the New School
- Help them with their schedule. On top of getting into a new school, new students have to deal with a whole new schedule. They’ll probably have a lot of questions about the classes themselves, where they are and even the teachers.
- If there are any resources available at your school to help students with their schedules, check if the new student has access to these. If they don’t, try and help them get access to these. For instance, many schools provide their students with an agenda, or a printed list of events planned for the year.
- Check in with them frequently. The first day is particularly stressful for new kids, and you’ll want to make sure they’re doing well throughout the day. Try to make yourself available frequently after that too, though. Make sure you’re also checking on the new kid throughout their first few weeks at their new school.
- If you’re comfortable doing so, you can give the new kid your phone number or social media contact info. This gives them the chance to reach out to you whenever they need it.
- Be ready to help them with homework if you share classes. Changing schools can be especially jarring, especially if it’s done after the beginning of the year. A new kid’s head might be spinning with all the new things they have to learn about their school and fellow classmates. If you really want to help them out, offer to do your homework together. You can take some time between classes or at lunch to help them with anything they’re having difficulties with.
- If English is the new student’s second language, you can be very helpful by giving them a hand with their homework.
- Tell them good things about your school. Discuss what you especially like about your school and encourage them to get involved!
- Remember that the new student probably has a lot on their mind. If they don’t seem so interested in being your friend, this does not necessarily mean that they don’t like you or appreciate your gestures. You may need to step back and give them some time before jumping right into the friendship.
- A nice idea might be to invite the new kid to hang out with you and your friends. It would make this student feel very included and welcome in social settings.
- Don’t take control, don’t be bossy. Let them choose to be their own person.
- Treat them as you would treat any other friend.
- Be aware that they may feel overwhelmed. If if seems that they aren’t listening to you, or they’re not paying attention, they’re probably absorbing all the things around them. Don’t yell at the new kid, he or she might start crying (if in a young grade) or maybe start to tremble and get scared. Stay nice and repeat things slowly.
- If you don’t have a lot in common, don’t worry! Having differences is just as good! Compare your backgrounds – you never know how close differences can bring two people!
- Try not to be “clingy.” If you sense that the student might need some space, let it be. When you meet people for the first time, it might be hard for them to open up to you right away.
- Do not try to keep them from forming their own friendships. If they wish to befriend your worst enemy, so be it!
- Have fun! You may be doing a favor, but this is most certainly not a job. Be especially welcoming because you want to, not because you have to. Make sure to be sincere.
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