At the end of last school year, we moved about 45 minutes away from where we were previously living. We kept my then preschooler in his school to finish out the year driving him back and forth.
This year he will be starting Kindergarten at a new school near our new house. While I expect to always have concerns about him making friends and feeling comfortable, I know that he will be fine.
He did just fine making friends in preschool and he got along well with his teachers too. While shy at first, once he warms up he is a smart, silly, imaginative little guy.
On the other hand, I am more concerned (if we're all being honest here) about my ability to make mom friends. I was only friends with the moms of a few kids in Tyler's preschool and basically that came about because I invited the entire class to Tyler's birthday party.
Tyler's birthday is in February, and I don't want to be waiting that long to make mom friends.
While I already have some friends that are moms, having mom friends at your kids' school is invaluable. You can keep up to date on classroom goings-ons, have someone to chat with at school events, and have play dates.
As an introvert, this does not come at all naturally to me. I tend to get uncomfortable in these kinds of interactions. However, Tyler is going to be at this school for the next 6 years, so I really want to forge friendships that can last all that time.
I know I am not the only one who might feel this way, so I have done some research and listening on overcoming the shyness and making friends with the mamas. If this is something you are concerned about, check out the tips I learned below.
Make the First Move
OK, so this can be hard, but odds are it's hard for other moms too. Some moms may already have friends with other moms so they are not initiating new conversations. Others may be just as uncomfortable as you. Either way, you can't rely on someone else to make the first move.
Just go out there with a smile and make the first move. Not only will this help you make mom friends, but it will also be a great example to your kiddo who will need to make new friends too.
So now that you know you're going to be making the first move, what do you say? The best way to start the conversation is to ask questions.
You can ask if this is their first time sending a kid off to school. You can ask how long they've lived in the area. If longer than you, you can ask for tips on the local parks or shopping or fun hangouts. If you have lived there longer, offer a tip that they might not know about like the best coffee shop or best time to go food shopping for short lines.
The important thing here is to keep it light and positive. No talk about politics or the news or the terrible weather. No one wants to be friends with Debbie Downer. You can bond over complaining about the awful commute later. You want your first impression to be a positive.
The best part about asking questions is that you don't have to worry about what to say. Often times are concern about meeting people is wondering what we are going to say. Well with this, you just ask the question and let them talk.
Pay attention to what they say and ask more questions based on what they have told you. You can make a great impression without really having to say all that much.
Another concern is knowing what to ask when you get there. Instead of leaving it for when you get to the school and start to feel the pressure to talk, plan it out ahead of time.
You know the situation: You are all dropping your kids off to the first day of (insert grade here). What can you ask based on that information? Below are some ideas:
- How was your summer?
- This is my first kid going to school, how about you?
- I'm pretty new to the area, have you lived here a while?
- Which one of these guys belongs to you?
- Did you find xyz from the supply list? I had some trouble finding it.
Take the Pressure Off
We all want to make friends with the moms at our kids' schools. But we don't need a million of them. We just need a few really good ones that we enjoy and can relate to.
That said, you don't have to worry about trying to introduce yourself to everyone. Look for the people that you think you might click with and then speak up.
If you get one or two good conversations on that first day, you are doing great. I mean how long are you really there for. It's not like you are spending the whole day with these people like your kids are.
Also, if you start a conversation with someone and you are just not clicking, it's OK to move on to someone else. No one said that once you start talking to someone they have to be your new best friend. You don't want the fact that your kids are in the same class to be the only thing you have in common.
Just keep it light, keep it natural. Don't make it feel like a mission to collect mom friends. Just make some conversation and see how it goes.
Do you have any tips for making mom friends at school. Please share them in the comments and help us all out!