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As you send your child off to the first day at a new school, no doubt one of your biggest hopes is that he or she will quickly make new friends. Some children are naturally outgoing and seem to instantly have a new bunch of pals, birthday party invitations and play dates. But most kids can benefit from a little gentle coaching from you. To help you with this sensitive transition, TXU Energy has compiled a few tips on helping kids make friends:

Teach your Children That Making Friends is a Lifelong Activity.
Talk to your kids about the importance of having friends in their lives, and model this idea by nurturing your own friendships. Talk about what it takes to be a good friend – honesty, sense of humor. loyalty, support and kindness. "The best way to have friends is to be one," goes the old saying.

Get to Know the Other Parents.
When parents are friends, it can pave the way for children to become friends. Often, parents of younger children find it easy to meet during pick-up time at school. This can present a low-key opportunity to segue on to the park or other activity where parents and kids can get acquainted. If your children are older, volunteering at school is a great way to meet parents.

Help Them Join a Group.
Especially for shy kids, being part of an organized activity can help ease the anxiety of making friends. Keep in mind your child’s interests, and then find a sports team, an art program, a scout troop or other group activity that will bring your child together with other kids they are likely to have common interests.

Go Where the Kids Are.
Sometimes the best friendships happen by chance. Give your child the opportunity to meet a wide variety of potential friends by spending time at the library, the park, the local ice cream shop or the kickball field.

Work on Social Skills.
Give your child some simple, achievable goals to get started. Ask them to say “hi” to one new person each day. Encourage them to invite a classmate over to play or study. Practice “getting-to-know-you” conversation techniques. Turning the process of helping kids make friends into a game relieves some of the anxiety.

It is also helpful to observe your child when she or he is playing with other kids. Praise their friend-making skills (“That was so nice of you to invite Catherine to join your game!”).

One last tip for you:  Be patient! It can be painful to think about your child eating lunch alone, or spending every weekend at home. It can take a little time for your child to find his or her niche. Just keep reassuring your child – and yourself – that they will have many friends in life, and the next one could be just around the corner!

Helping kids make friends is just one part of moving to a new home. If that home happens to be in Texas, you’ll likely have a choice when it comes to your electricity provider. TXU Energy is the #1 choice for electricity in Texas, and we're here to help you find a plan that meets your needs and your budget. Explore your options today.

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