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My child is at a new school with no friends: tips to help them make connections

helping my child make friends

Starting at a new school with no friends is hard any any age, it is like stepping into a whole new world for your child – a world filled with unfamiliar faces and the daunting task of making new friends. It’s a journey that can stir a whirlwind of emotions, from excitement to anxiety. 

As a parent, you’re their anchor in this sea of change, their guide through the maze of new hallways and classes. 

This blog is here to help you navigate these waters with your child, offering practical and heartfelt tips on how to help them forge connections, find their footing, and maybe, just maybe, turn this new school into a place they can’t wait to go to every morning. 


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From understanding their feelings to building their confidence, let’s explore how you can support your child in stitching together the fabric of new friendships while also keeping the threads of old ones intact.

Understanding your child’s feelings about changing schools

When your child starts at a new school, their world turns into a mix of scary new halls and unknown faces. It’s a lot for their little shoulders. They might feel all jittery inside, scared, or just plain lost about finding a friend in the crowd.

It’s a big deal for them, and they need to know you get it—that you’re really listening and that their feelings are just as important to you as they are to them.

Here are a few heartfelt ways to step into their shoes and help them find their stride in this new chapter:

Listen to your child: Lean in and encourage them to open up about what’s bothering them. And when they do, just listen. No fixing, no judging. Just you, giving them your full, undivided attention. It’s like saying, “I hear you, I’m here for you.” This simple act makes them feel understood, and that their feelings truly matter.

listening to your child

Empathize with your child: When your child looks up at you with those big eyes, full of new-school worries, take a moment to step into their shoes. Feel what they feel. Then you say, “I get it, it’s okay to feel this way,” and just like that, you’ve thrown them a lifeline of understanding. They’re not alone because you’re right there with them, feeling every high and every low by their side.

Be patient and supportive: Seeing your child trying to fit into a new place, it’s like watching them take tiny, hesitant steps in a big, new world. You tell them, “Take your time, it’ll get easier.” Your words are like a gentle hand on their back, encouraging yet patient. Suggest they try making just one new friend to start with, but no rushing. They’ve got this, and you’re there, every step of the way.

Help your child build social skills: It’s all about baby steps, isn’t it? When your child is learning to wade through the waters of social cues and playground chatter, your role is to gently guide them. So, you create little moments at home for practice—making up stories and taking turns, just like they would in a real chat. “How would you say hi to someone new?” you might ask. And as you both giggle through a pretend conversation, you’re not just playing. You’re giving them the tools they need—one smile, one “hello” at a time.

You know every child’s journey is unique, especially when it comes to settling into a new school. Your child might take a bit longer to find their footing in this unfamiliar place, and that’s okay. 

Listen, really listen to what’s on their mind, and let them know it’s perfectly fine to feel a little lost at first. With you by their side, understanding their worries, they won’t just face this change—they’ll start to embrace it, day by day.

Encouraging Communication

It sure can be a whirlwind for your kid, stepping into a school where no one knows their name yet. But here’s the thing: talking can be the key that unlocks those first friendships.

Let’s go over some simple ways you can help your child start those chats that could blossom into friendship: 

Teach active listening: You want your child to make friends and to be part of the laughter and the games. The secret? Listening. Teach them to really listen to what the other kids say, to nod, ask questions, and let their classmates know they’re truly interested. It’s not just about hearing words; it’s about connecting hearts. This kind of listening weaves bonds that could last them through school and beyond. 

teaching your child to listen actively

Practice conversation skills: It’s like a little play at home, where you and your child get to rehearse real-life chats. You teach them the simple magic of saying “Hi, I’m…” and the art of asking about someone else’s favorite game or book. And then, sharing a little piece of their own world, like their love for dinosaurs or soccer. These role-plays? They’re the secret rehearsals for the big show at school, where your kid gets to be a star in making new friends.

Join extracurricular activities: Think about your child, how much they have to share, and how much they want to belong. Getting them into a club or on a team can open so many doors. It’s where they find others who get excited about the same stuff they do, where a shared goal or a common hobby can spark a friendship.

Encourage empathy: You know how it feels to be the new kid, right? That’s why teaching your child to walk in someone else’s shoes is so important. Encourage them to be the one who offers a smile or a helping hand at school, even to kids they don’t know well. It’s about showing them how a little kindness can make a big difference in someone’s day.

Be a good listener: When your child comes to you, their eyes wide with the big, scary feelings of starting at a new school, just listen. Really listen. Let them spill out all their worries and fears without jumping in to fix things right away. Show them that what they feel – every bit of it – is important. Your hug, your nod, your “I understand, and it’s okay to feel this way” – that’s the support they need. It tells them they’re not alone in this new adventure.

It can be a big help to your child when you encourage them to chat and share their stories with others at their new school. It’s like giving them a gentle push on the back as they step into a world of possible friendships. 

Keep in mind, though, that friendships aren’t made overnight. So, stay patient and keep cheering them on. Your support is the quiet strength they need as they find their way.

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Building Confidence

Helping your child feel sure of themselves in a new school can be quite the task, especially when they haven’t yet found friends to laugh with. 

But, you see, growing their confidence is like giving them a secret superpower. It can open the door to new friendships and help them settle into this fresh chapter with a little more ease.

Involvement in Activities

Seeing your child step into a new school, you know getting them involved in activities can really help. It’s about more than just keeping busy.

involving my child in school activities

Joining a sports team, a club, or even a volunteer group gives them a chance to shine in their own way, discover what they love, and meet kids who like the same things. 

It’s these shared interests and new skills that can spark friendships and boost their confidence. Watching them find their place among new faces – that’s a journey worth encouraging.

Developing Skills

Every new word your child learns in another language, every note they play on an instrument, every little project they finish – it all stacks up like building blocks of confidence. 

It’s incredible, isn’t it? Watching them grow, bit by bit, into someone proud of what they can do. Cheer them on as they set small goals and reach them. It’s like a little victory dance in their heart each time.

Remember, becoming confident doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow dance, one step at a time, and they need you there, clapping along, believing in them. 

Nudge them gently towards new challenges, even if they’re a bit scared. With your belief as their backbone, they’ll not only find their feet at this new school but march forward to wherever life takes them next.

Promoting Social Interaction

It’s not easy, seeing your child start at a new school, feeling all alone in that sea of unknown faces. But, you know what? There are simple, heartfelt things you can do to help them find their crew, their laugh-out-loud buddies. 

Let’s explore these little steps to help your child break the ice and start weaving friendships in this new chapter of their life.

Joining Clubs or Groups

When your child walks into their new school, where every face is a stranger, you can help light the way to new friendships. 

Steer them toward clubs or groups that spark a twinkle in their eye. Is it soccer, drama, or the silent strategy of chess? In these places, they’ll find others who get excited about the same things they do. It’s like finding a hidden tribe.

your child’s social interaction

There, in the thrum of shared passions, friendships blossom, turning what could be solitary lunchtimes into a buzz of shared stories and smiles.

Finding Common Interests

Seeing your child on the sidelines while others are chatting and laughing together isn’t easy. 

You can give them a little boost by finding what sparks joy in them—maybe it’s art, sports, or a love for books—and then steering them toward where they’ll meet others who share that same spark. 

Whether it’s joining the school play or going on a field trip, these are the moments where friendships can bloom.

And how about setting up a playdate or two? It’s like planting seeds in a garden, hoping for friendships to grow. These things take time, just like any good story needs a few chapters before the adventure really takes off. 

Remind them that everyone’s the new kid at some point. And if they ever feel stuck, they’re not alone. You’re there to listen, to hug, to help. With a bit of patience and your loving support, they’ll find their crew.

Dealing with Bullying

The thought of your child facing a bully in a new school. It’s a tough spot, and you wish you could just scoop them up and make it all disappear. But you’ve got a game plan.

dealing with bullying

First off, you let them know they’re not alone—not ever. You tell them it’s brave to reach out and talk about it, to tell a teacher or someone they trust when things get rough. You make sure they know that school is supposed to be safe, and they deserve to feel secure just like anyone else.

Then, you help them find their squad, the kind of friends who stick together. Maybe there’s a robotics club or a music group they could join? Having buddies makes a huge difference when facing bullies.

And you don’t stop there. You’re in touch with the school, checking they’ve got the rules against bullying down pat. If things don’t get better, you’re ready to have those sit-downs with the teachers or the school counselor, plotting the best way forward.

Dealing with a bully feels like climbing a mountain, but remember, you’re climbing it together with your child. And you’re not just climbing—you’re conquering it, one step at a time, because your child’s happiness and safety are worth every step.

Maintaining Old Friendships

Moving to a new school, it’s like starting a chapter in a totally different book, isn’t it? And leaving behind old friends, that can tug at your heart. But keeping those friendships alive, that’s a treasure worth holding onto. 

Here’s how you can help your child stay connected with their old pals:

Schedule regular video calls: Nothing beats the feeling of a good laugh with an old friend, right? Moving to a new school doesn’t mean those laughs are gone. Help your kid set up video calls with their friends. A simple FaceTime or Zoom can bridge the gap. Plan a virtual movie or a game night, and it’s almost like they’re in the same room, not miles apart. It’s a way to keep those golden old friendships glowing, even as your child starts a new chapter.

Send care packages: Isn’t it a joy, the surprise of getting a special something in the mail? It’s like a hug in a box. Help your child pack up a care package for their friend. Tuck in some favorite treats, a note scribbled with inside jokes, and perhaps a little something that’ll bring out their friend’s smile. It’s more than just stuff in a box; it’s a reminder to their pal that distance doesn’t dim their bond. It’s a small gesture that whispers from your child’s heart to theirs, saying, “I remember you. I miss you. You matter to me.”

Plan visits: There’s a unique kind of warmth in those get-togethers, isn’t there? If your child’s friends aren’t too far away, help them plan a visit. Maybe you could turn it into a mini adventure, discovering a new place together. Just picture the excitement buzzing between them as they explore and make new memories. All it takes is a yes from the parents and a little planning. It’s these moments, these face-to-face laughs and stories, that keep a friendship blooming, no matter where life takes them.

Holding onto old friends while stepping into a new school is like keeping a piece of home with you. They’re the roots that keep you steady, aren’t they? 

Remind your child that these friendships are treasures, not left behind, but carried in their heart wherever they go. 

Keeping that bond alive, they can still share the ups and downs, and the new stories, and cherish the old ones, no matter the miles between them. It’s a way to remind each other, “No matter where we are, we’re in this together.”

My child is at a new school with no friends

Got any comments, questions, or tips on helping your child make a new connection? Share them in the comments below.


Do you worry about your child being picked on? Our Bullyproof Your Child Quickly Guide will show you how to bullyproof your child in just 4 simple steps. The guide includes our letter to the school template. It’s a game changer–get it free for a limited time!


Bryn Todd

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