<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=5C8hi1agq800qI" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

    15 Easy Ways to Make Connections at Your Child's New School

    Fun back-to-school commercials always feature happy families shopping for new clothes, supplies, and lunch goodies. However, we all know that if the commercial were created for military families, it would highlight stressed-out parents searching stacks of unpacked household goods for lunchboxes and backpacks from last week’s PCS move

    Family moving home and carrying cardboard boxesPhoto from Shutterstock

    Later in the commercial, the camera focuses on the nervous mil-parent contemplating the odd predicament of not having a local person to list as the child’s emergency contact on many back-to-school forms. 

    Being the new mil-kid, mil-mom, and mil-dad is tough, especially since duty station time is short. So you wouldn’t be alone if you seriously considered staying home and counting the days to the next move. 

    But if you’re looking to make fast friends and connections in your community, look no further than your children’s schools. It’s the easiest place to meet friends and neighbors with like-minded goals: improving your kids’ school life and education.  

    It’s true; the younger the kids, the easier it is to make friends with their families, but don’t let your tweens and teens discourage you. There’s impact and friends to be made in middle in high school, too. Pick a few of these fool-proof ways to get involved, and you're bound to meet friends and neighbors. 

    Happy family sitting on sofa and using laptop, mobile phone and digital tablet at homePhoto from Shutterstock 

    Before You Arrive

    If you have a couple of weeks before school starts, connect with your schools online.  Don’t worry; you can still make up for lost time even if school has started. 

    1) Start by following your school on your favorite social media platform and engage!

    Some principals love to Tweet, and other schools have robust Facebook groups, so check out all of the options. Don't forget to follow your school district, too. They’ll likely have “new to school” resources and possibly a section for military kid transfers. 

    2) You should also follow your new city or community’s online specialty groups.

    Meet parents with children in the same activities as yours, like swimming, soccer, lacrosse, softball, or dance. Ask questions, and you’ll definitely get lots of answers and opinions. 

    3) If you haven’t heard of the Youth Sponsorship Program, now is the time to see if your school participates.

    Not only does this group connect new military kids to existing military kids at their school or military base. Parents are encouraged to make connections with other parents too.  

    Use our Pre-PCS School Checklist for more help preparing the family for their new school.

    Children playing on colorful kindergarten playgroundPhoto from Shutterstock 

    After You Arrive

    Take a break from the mountain of unpacked PCS boxes and scattered paper stacks and take advantage of the plentiful ways to meet and greet the neighbors. After following your school’s social media and learning about the fun scheduled activities ahead, your calendar should be marked with tons of back-to-school fun. 

    4) Call it Popsicles on the Playground or a Back to School Ice Cream Social; it doesn’t matter— kids love the frozen treats, and they’re the perfect icebreaker in the schoolyard.

    These events (some schools schedule by grade) are your chance for in-person introductions and to ask questions about the school’s details you might have missed. 

    5) Your school’s PTA or PTO is an invaluable source of information.

    Even if you don’t decide to join, you can still follow their newsletter or Facebook page to keep up with sponsored events like Welcome Back Social. You won’t want to miss the opportunities to meet new families. 

    6) Attend your child’s Open House or Back to School Night, especially if you have older kids.

    These might be one of the few ways you can get your middle or high schooler to join you in getting to know other families. 

    This Back to School Guide for Military Families has resources for all military families with kids, whether you're planning private, public, or homeschooling. 

    Teacher and pupils working at desk together at the elementary schoolPhoto from Shutterstock 

    Settle In and Volunteer 

     Volunteering at school is one of the best ways to find new friends fast. There’s always a shortage of helpful hands, and you just might have the skills the school could benefit from. Also, don’t forget that volunteering is 100% resume worthy. Maybe this duty station is all about adding new experiences and skills so that you can land the perfect job later. 

    7) Sign up for room parent duties.

    You’ll meet parents instantly, and your teacher will sincerely thank you for your commitment. 

    8) Become an active PTA or PTO member.

    Maybe the Communications Chair position is open? Or, they might need someone to lead the charge for the Fall Fest in October. There’s nothing like organizing an event to bond you to other parents immediately. 

    9) Offer to help in the front office.

    The administrators could always use help with daily tasks like copying and answering phones. 

    Happy group of kids playing at the parkPhoto from Shutterstock 

    10) Start a military family support group.

    If your school doesn’t have one, create a military support group that brings students and their parents together. Focus on sharing and spreading resources that support military families, like MilitaryOne Source and the Military Child Education Coalition. Or, schedule a session for the group to meet your local Student Liaison Officer and listen to a presentation about their services. 

    11) Assist in the library.

    Can you imagine what the stacks look like every time a class comes into browse? The librarian would be grateful for any time you have to reshelve. 

    12) Lend a hand during art class.

    As important as the arts are to a child’s education, they’re labor intensive and often messy. Check in with your art teacher and ask if they need any help managing class supplies or clean up. 

    13) Bring your gardening skills to school.

    Many elementary schools have gardens on campus to expand on the subjects taught during the day. If your green thumb needs a workout, offer to water, weed, and maintain the plants, or tend bird feeders or other projects the teachers are discussing. 

    14) Teach students your hobbies or expertise.

    Many schools run after-care programs or clubs taught  by parent volunteers who excel in subjects kids love. For example, offer to teach a coding class, pottery class, or coach a running club. 

    15) Volunteer as a parking attendant or crossing guard.

    These volunteers make the school day's beginning and end efficient and timely. If you love the outdoors and pride yourself on time management skills, you could be the next best thing to happen to the school community! 

    Your two to three years will move fast, especially if you intentionally engage in the community and have fun. So if you’re hoping to make a new circle of friends, make an impact at your children’s school, or simply fill the hours of your day, choose a few of these easy ways to find the connections you’re looking for in your new hometown. 

    Stay updated with the latest information and helpful resources for military families and join our email list below. 

    Join Our Email List

    Easy Ways to Make Connections at Your Kids School

    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

    Popular Posts