Helping Children Have Great Conversations on the First Day Of School

I’ve been talking to some great children about feeling nervous to meet new friends on the first day of school, especially if you don’t know anyone in your new classroom. What will I say? Will I have anything to talk about? Do I just stand there? 

It’s never too early to help children learn the art of conversation.

I sat on my lawn for an hour with delightful elementary school children, and we talked about the three best questions to ask a new young friend on the first day of school. (Of course, one little girl put her finger in the air and said, “You have to first start with asking what their name is and then say what your name is!” That’s right. Start with names.)

Then what?

Children love to talk about so many things, but I have found you can’t go wrong when you ask a child or teen about music, pets, and shows. Try it! You’ll be amazed if you ask these questions:

Did you find any cool music this summer? (When I asked the children, they wanted to talk about it! I learned about new pop songs, Disney soundtracks, all of it.)

Did you get any new pets? (Most children have had a pet, have a pet, or want a pet. When I asked this question, I learned more than I ever wanted to about gerbils, bunnies, and a dearly missed dog. I then had to introduce all of my cats. This was a long conversation, perfect for the lunch table. And it evolves into experiences with animals in nature. We talked about bears and deer. We laughed and laughed about how funny animals can be.)

What did you watch on TV? (This was a great conversation! I learned about new shows on Disney+ and Baking Impossible on Netflix. This was such a great time of connection!)

We practiced asking the three questions. I told the children they don’t need to worry about feeling awkward or not having anything to say to a new friend. Music, pets, shows. You can’t go wrong. And you’ll quickly find what you have in common with someone. You might just find your best friend on the first day of school!

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