Year 6 Transition & Friendships
The move from year 6 to high school is a big one and it is natural to feel a bit unsure about it. The recent changes to all our lives that coronavirus has brought may make it feel a bit harder. Year 6 pupils have not had the same chances to say their goodbyes and be prepared in the usual way for the move to high school. Schools know this and there will be plans to help with this. Contact your school to see how they will do this.
Making friends may be a worry for your child. They may have found making friends hard before, or had difficult experiences with friends in the past. Reassure your child that most people will feel worried about this when they are facing a new set of people.
Share any worries you had at that age and how you coped (take care not to pass on anxieties left over from any bad experiences – this is a clean slate for your child).
Speak to the school they are moving to. They are used to supporting young people to make friends. They will be able to explain how they will help with this to you and your child
Is there an existing friend that is starting the new school too? Talking with a friend in the same situation can show them it is ‘normal’ to have these thoughts and feelings.
Joining group and clubs is a good way to meet new friends with common interests. During current Covid 19 check what is still available through school or you could look on ‘Active Norfolk’ *here*.
You can help your child build their confidence by talking about friendships and thinking what could help them feel more confident to meet new people and make friends. Help your child keep in touch with friends on the phone or online apps so they can support each other.
- Practising some opening lines to help them get the conversation started. ‘I like your scarf’ or ‘what do you like doing after school’.
- Encouraging them to be a good friend. When you see them being kind and caring praise them and tell them how the other person might have felt. ‘I bet Tom felt really included when you asked him to join in football at the park’.
- Talk to them about red flags if someone is not being a good friend back. Friends should not be unkind and make you feel bad.
Talk to your child about body language. We can give off signals to make us seem like a good person to talk to. Our own and other people’s body language say a lot about us.
- Speak clearly and confidently
- Make eye contact
- Try and concentrate on what the person says ask a question to show you are listening. ‘I like football too; where do you usually play?’
It can be hard when you are feeling worried to give off the body language that you want to talk. Your child can try taking a few slow deep breaths as they smile to help them feel ready to meet people.
It is common for friendship groups to change over time. Interests and points of view change as they grow. It can be hard to watch your child work out which friendships are working and which have ‘run their course’.
Children sometimes make friends and then fall out again for a short time. Many different groupings and re-groupings can occur in the especially in the early days of a new school.
If your child having a hard had time with a friend or something has upset them, you can help them by;
- Keeping calm and listening to what they say will give them the space to think through what has happened. Don’t feel you have to ‘fix’ the problem letting them talk is helpful in itself.
- Don’t get cross or talk badly about the other child as young friendships can be up and down and it may well settle down.
- Ask your child what they think they could have done differently – sometimes it will be your child that has made the mistake. When this happens help them work out how to put things right. Reassure them it will be ok.
- If the fallouts are getting very frequent and your child is struggling speak to school to see if they can help.
- If you are worried about bullying we have more information on this *here*.
All friendships have ups and downs your child will be learning this through the relationships they build at school. Friendships are good for our confidence and self esteem.
Even when it doesn’t work out – learning to get along with people you don’t like much. Learning to manage disagreements and compromise. As well as understanding when a friendship is not ‘good for us’ are important skills for life.
- Dealing With...: Bullying by Jane Lacey and Venitia Dean.
Links for activities and clubs where young people can make friends or meet up with their friends:
Who Can Help?
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520 631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text Chathealth on 07480 635060 for confidential advice from one of the Healthy Child Programme team.