Making Friends at School … with Other Parents

We place great emphasis on a child’s transition to school, but what about the parents’ one? Establishing a network of acquaintances and friends within your child’s school will help you to stay informed and feel connected with your child’s experience. Unfortunately, there can be numerous obstacles to making adult connections at school. You may work long hours and rarely attend drop-off or pick-ups yourself. Perhaps you have a hectic schedule that has you rushing between various schools, activities and other appointments. Perhaps you’re toting a tired or hungry baby or impatient toddler (or both!) and need to make a fast exit from the school grounds, every time. It’s also possible you may simply find socialising with other parents just a little awkward or daunting.
For insight into the benefits of growing a network of acquaintances and friends at your child’s school, I spoke to Inner West Mum and school teacher Ally.
‘Kindergarten is a tricky transition for everyone,’ says Ally. ‘As a teacher, I often speak with parents about their children making friends and the ways in which they can assist. What is often overlooked, however, is the parents themselves and the connections they can make to assist with this transition. Parents need to reach out and try to build relationships with other parents who have similar interests so that you can mutually support each other.’
Following is a selection of suggestions (many of which came out of a recent post within the Inner West Mums Facebook group) that may help you to make stronger connections at your child’s school – possibly even close long-term friendships.

  • Attend any orientation days prior to starting school. Make an effort to chat with other parents and perhaps even propose some play dates before the school year begins. When your child starts school, he or she will recognise a couple of familiar student faces, and you’ll have some adult connections as well.
  • Post in the Inner West Mums (or other local Facebook) group to make contact with any parents whose children are beginning at your child’s school.
  • Once the school year has begun, suggest a Facebook group for the parents, which can be used to organise play dates or other social gatherings.
  • Most schools have class parents who organise social occasions. These are ideal for getting to know other parents.
  • Linger at drop-off or pick-up times, as these can provide opportunities to meet other parents.
  • After school take your child to the nearest park or cafe. You will often find other families from the school in these places and there may be a chance to strike up a conversation with another parent in a more relaxed context than the school grounds.
  • Where possible, attend special assemblies, sports days and concerts. With work and other commitments, it can sometimes be a juggle to make it to school functions, but if you’re aiming to connect with other parents these are perfect settings to do so, while supporting your child.
  • Consider joining the P&C.
  • Volunteering at the school, e.g., during reading time or sports days, can be another great way of making connections.
  • Birthday parties are yet another opportunity to interact with other parents.

 
More articles from Ginny:
When Two Becomes Three (or More)
Focus on Women’s Health: Childbirth Injuries
Birth Injuries: An Uncomfortable but Important Matter
Finding Peace: An Inner West Mum’s Story of Domestic Violence
Our Incredible Village
Just Eloped!
The Day Cale Met his Idol Guy Sebastian
How to Support a Friend through the Loss of a Baby
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
The Milk Wars
A Big Shift: How Three Women Transformed their Careers during Motherhood
You Know You Have an Inner West Child When …
The Game-Changer
Cookie Cutter Kids: How can we teach our children to celebrate diversity?
Running in Circles
Allergies: What’s all the fuss about?
The Early Days
Not water – Tears
No Judgements, Please
Triumph or Trauma
Riding the Merry go Round
Friends, Near or Far
When is Enough, Enough?
My (Child’s) Kitchen Rules

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