Raise your hands if your kids are just ITCHING for some social time with all the craziness of this COVID year! If that’s you, I have a little tip to share. It’s something I did a few years ago over Christmas break, but you can totally do it right now at the start of a new school year. If you belong to a local homeschool group, it will be easy peasy, but if you don’t, search for a Facebook group for homeschoolers in your area and look for like-minded moms with kids the same age as yours.
In the year we did this, we had our fifth child in a homeschool co-op with lots of new girls. Eden’s pretty outgoing, but it can be hard to get to know other kids really well with all the distractions of the class (other kids, activities, lessons), so before Christmas break last year, I asked Eden to give me a list of the girls in her classes that she wanted to get to know better. I contacted the class facilitators and got emails for the moms, and we set up one-on-one playdates throughout the Christmas break.
I’ve found that kids seem to connect best when their hands are busy, so we picked a handful of super fun things to do with each girl during their playdate. They baked cookies, did craft projects, and played some fun games. And I took lots of pictures (that’s key)!
“Give them confidence that they can make friends anywhere they go!”
Then we made a little trip to Michael’s craft supply store and picked up some cheap white photo frames and a small scrapbook. After each play date, we printed the pictures, and Eden picked her favorite pic of herself with her new friend. She decorated one of the white frames and slipped the picture in it, and when she got back to class after the break, she gave each girl the framed picture to remind them of their fun day together.
She also used the extra pictures to create a two-page spread in the scrapbook for each playdate. It was a reminder of her fun break, and it helped her establish some good memories with her new friends.
Not only did those experiences help Eden to feel more socially comfortable at the co-op, but it gave her confidence that she can make new friends anywhere she goes.