We teach our children to befriend the new kids, but do we moms act on our own advice?
Another summer has passed too quickly and our kids are back at school.
If you’re like me, you’re lamenting the end of long, carefree days, yet breathing a sigh of relief at the return of routine.
Through our girls’ excitement at returning to school and reuniting with friends, every year we remind them to welcome the new students. We talk about how new kids might feel on their first day in a new school and what our girls can do to ease their anxieties. We tell them to look for kids who are sitting alone at lunch or playing alone on the playground. For a new kid, having someone reach out and include them on the first day can set the tone for the school year. It can give them confidence and relief that can set them up for success. Besides, teaching our kids empathy, how to introduce themselves, and how to be inclusive are great life skills—ones that could lead to friendships they might otherwise not experience.
Are we doing the same? Are we modeling those same behaviors for our children?
What about the parents who are standing alone at drop-off? Are we looking for them?
Back to school time can be a joyous reunion for mom friends. It’s so fun to hear about each other’s summer adventures. Most of all, it’s a relief to talk to other grown-ups and feel a little human again. I mean, we could stand in the parking lot and talk all day without a little person asking for something to eat—again. (How do those little bodies consume so much food in the summer?)
But let us remember how that mom might feel who is standing alone on the edge, watching her child look back with frightened eyes as she enters a new building with people she doesn’t know. Think about how that mom’s heart must be cracking with fear for her child. She’s holding onto hope that when she picks up her child at the end of the day, she will exit the building with a smile and not tears. Consider how that mom feels seeing all the other parents talking and laughing. They already know each other, not to mention their children’s teachers and friends.
What comfort could you bring to a new mom by simply introducing yourself?
Perhaps that mom wants to make her own friends (making friends can be hard for grown-ups, too). Or she’s looking for a place to fit in or contribute to the community. You can invite her to the first PTO/PTA meeting. That’s a great way to meet others in the school and community. Do you walk or go to the gym with friends after drop-off? Invite her to join.
We know our children watch everything we do.
Let’s be sure to model the behaviors we’re instructing them, and in the meantime, make a new friend. Moms need each other. You don’t have to be BFF’s. However, inviting a new mom to a group function could lead her to her new BFF. Most of all, your kindness can set the tone for her school year.