Parents are often concerned about whether their child will make friends at school, but they can give less thought to their own social connections. Whether you’re someone who prefers to have a few close-knit friends, or enjoys being part of a wide social circle, chatting to other parents at the school gate is always a good idea. For one thing, depending on your child’s age you will be spending quite a bit of time at this gate, so you may as well pass the time by chatting to some other adults. Being on friendly terms with other parents can also help your kid, as the parents may feel more inclined to invite them over for a playdate with their child. Additionally, it’s good to know how other parents are getting on – you can support each other, and share gripes and grumbles, knowing that they will understand. Here are three tips on making friends at the school gate.
Time It Right
You don’t always want to be rushing up at the last minute, panting and late to collect your child. Not only will this create the impression that you are a bit disorganized, it also means other parents will have left by the time you get there. Even if it’s just once a week, make an effort to arrive early, so you can strike up conversations with parents around you.
Don’t wait for others to arrange plans – show that you’re interested in pursuing friendships by suggesting a meet-up yourself. If you have the time and space, this could be at your home, but it can also be as simple as suggesting grabbing a coffee together after drop off or before pick up. Other parents will be pleased that you’re initiating a meet-up, and it will give you space to talk with adults without being distracted by your kid.
It’s incredibly tempting to share information about people we know with others, but avoid this temptation with other parents at your kid’s school. You don’t want to get a reputation as someone untrustworthy, and it’s very likely that the person you’re gossiping about will hear that you’ve been talking about them. If someone shares gossip with you, try and remain neutral and change the subject when you can. School communities can be small, and no one likes feeling like everyone’s talking about them.