Help your student form new friendships this school year

For students that struggle with social anxiety, meeting new people and introducing themselves can be scary.
The new school year means new classmates. For students that struggle with social anxiety, meeting new people and introducing themselves can be scary.
Updated: Sep. 5, 2022 at 4:35 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The new school year means new classmates. For students that struggle with social anxiety, meeting new people and introducing themselves can be scary.

SSM Health Behavioral Health Family Therapist Britt Coolman says the best advice parents can give is to hang in there.

“The first couple of days can sometimes be tough,” said Coolman. “Sometimes other people aren’t socializing as much either because they’re just kind of getting used to the structure of being at school again.”

She says children should look for ways to strike up conversations about a shared experience, like a certain teacher or class project.

“Most likely those opportunities will come a little bit more as school progresses and moves along,” Coolman continued.

While social media can be a tool to connect kids outside of the school walls, Coolman warns children should only use it for connection and not comparison.

“I think social media does add another layer and makes it more complicated,” Coolman explained. “Try to see if you can use it as a way to start conversations or see if you have things in common with other people, but also to have some good boundaries for yourself.”