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How can I help my child make new friends after a move?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Here are ways to help your child make friends and adapt to moving to new surrounds:
  • Visit the surroundings
As soon as convenient, let your kids get acquainted. Go to the local library, park, school, Boys and Girls Clubs, Teen center, American youth soccer organization (AYSO) soccer club, pool facilities. Take your child for a visit to preview his new school.
  • Help your kids blend in
Clothes, haircuts, shoes styles, and accessories really do matter in helping kids gain peer approval and communities do have their own culture. So visit your kid's school (if possible even before the move) and study the appearance of the kids your child is most likely to associate with.

Does your kid dress like them? If not, help him find the styles so he blends in.
  • Acknowledge feelings
If your child doesn't share her feelings, you can help her recognize how she feels about the move.

"You must be feeling lonely and miss your old group." "I can you're worried." It's tough to join a new team when you don't any of the kids."

Let her know such feelings are normal. Even if your kid won't talk to you -- keep talking to her.
Stress to your child that adjustment takes a while.

You might encourage him to write his feelings about the move on paper, put them in a jar and then bury them out back as a time capsule to dig it up to read a year or two from now to realize things really have improved.
  • Befriend other parents
Be a room parent as soon as you can, offer to carpool, sign up to coach, be the team mom, help out with the church group, meet other camper parents, and attend (PTA) meetings and other school functions. Introduce yourself to the neighbors. Find out who amongst your work colleagues, if you have them, has children: it's a way to learn not only about available kid activities, and potential new friends for your children (or find a babysitter!)
  • Find outlets for your kid that attracts peers
Look for opportunities for your child to meet kids anywhere or elsewhere -- for example, scouting, park and recreation programs, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, 4-H, Teen Clubs, church groups, sports teams, library programs, after-school programs, or other youth groups. Pediatricians' offices and libraries often are a good place for picking up schedules of upcoming kid events.

Your goal is to help your kids find ways to meet new kids. Making the friends is her job -- helping her find potential new friends is your role.
Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Accompany your child in visiting the surroundings.

Help your child blend in.

Acknowledge feelings.

Befriend other parents.

Find outlets for your child that attracts peers.

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    Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.