Home After Your Move Welcome the New Family to School

Welcome the New Family to School

by Ali Wenzke
Welcome the New Family to School

My Facebook feed is filled with happy back-to-school photos. Smiling kids looking their finest in clean sneakers and snazzy outfits.  If only the photos came with audio. “Come on, kids. Just one quick picture.” “How are you not ready yet?!” “I don’t know where your shoes are. Where’d you leave them?” Now imagine what you’d be saying if you moved into your house last week. Think of how anxious you’d feel if your kid didn’t know anyone at school. Back to school time is crazy, but please take on this one extra assignment. Welcome the new family to your school.

Lead by Example

We always tell our kids to be nice, to include others, and to share. They get that message at home, at school, from books, and from TV. The most powerful teacher is, of course, you. I know because I saw it in a commercial. Don’t just tell your kids to be kind. Show your kindness. Show your kids how to include others by going out of your way to welcome a new family. A circle of friends can be expanded, and this message isn’t just for kids.

Lead by example. Your kid will learn to be nice to the new kid by watching you.

I learned it by watching you.

Ways You Can Help the New Family at School

  1. Introduce Yourself

To help out the new family, introduce yourself. Go up to the new parent and say, “Hi! I’m Steven’s mom. Who do you belong to?” If you are certain that the family is new to the school, ask where they moved from and welcome them to the class. If you’ve never been new before, I can assure you that it’s just as hard to be the new mom on the block as it is to be the new kid at school. When you’re new, you don’t know who to approach. You don’t know who is in your kid’s class. You don’t know if someone is a parent, a nanny, or school staff. Every face is an unfamiliar one. So, you stand back and observe. Eventually you’ll jump in and introduce yourself as the new mom, but it’s so much nicer if someone else makes the first move.

  1. Offer Your Contact Information

Whenever we moved, having somebody we could email with seemingly silly questions was a huge help.  The new family might not know anyone in your area.  You can answer questions about homework assignments or carpool line rules or give recommendations on doctors or dry cleaners.

  1. Schedule a Playdate with Your Kids

After we moved from Chicago, IL, to Knoxville, TN, my daughter would cry at night because she missed her friends so much. My heart would break, and I feared that we had ruined our children’s lives forever. Then, one day Rachel invited me and my kids over to her house. I’ve never felt such joy and relief at seeing my children laughing and playing with other kids. At that moment, I knew that things would be okay.

  1. Invite the New Mom or Dad Out

Welcome the new family at school. Invite the new parent out to coffee with you.

Invite the new parent out with you.

My friends and I had plans to eat lunch on a Friday. On Wednesday, we received a flyer about the new student who joined our class. I asked my friend who planned the outing if we could extend the invitation to the new mom. We did and we’ve been friends ever since. I’m a big believer in ‘the more, the merrier’.  If you’ve got a group of girls going to the movies together, invite the new mom. If you’ve got a group of guys in a fantasy football league, include the new dad. You might not be ready to ask the new mom to join your book club yet, so invite her to something more low key like coffee or a park outing.

  1. Be Real

The only thing worse than having someone say, “Let’s get together for coffee” when they don’t mean it is having someone do that to you when you’re new. When we first moved to Tennessee, we scheduled playdates with several different people. All the playdates fell through. I decided to stop telling my kids when we planned to meet someone. I couldn’t handle how devastated they looked when they found out someone else had canceled on us. Instead, playdates would be happy surprises if they happened. Emotions run high after a move. Only offer the new family what you can deliver.

You Never Forget Your First Friend

Welcome the new family to school. You never forget your first friend.

You never forget your first friend.

There are many benefits to welcoming the new family. First, you lead by example, and your child will learn kindness from you. Second, it feels good to help others. Maybe you were new once and you remember what it’s like. Finally, you will always hold a special place in someone’s heart. I will never forget how kind Rachel was for inviting our family into her home, and I am forever grateful. Whether it’s you or your child, the new family will remember the people who were kind to them from the beginning.

 Five ways to welcome a new family to school

You may also like


BN August 25, 2016 - 4:50 pm

Spot on Ali! So easy to do all these things yet so often overlooked! For those of us that have moved that first, true contact person is huge!

Ali Wenzke August 26, 2016 - 9:00 am

Thank you, BN! It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone else’s life. Sometimes we get caught up in our hectic lives, so it’s easy to forget the simple things. I’m glad you had someone to help you out during your move.

Julie September 11, 2016 - 10:42 am

I’m with you on ‘the more the merrier!’ that’s what makes great welcoming communities. Part of moving into a new community is helping to make it a better place. Love your tips!

Ali Wenzke September 12, 2016 - 8:52 am

Thank you, Julie! You are so right about our own obligation to make the community a better place when we move somewhere new. I love that.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.