It sure can be hard to be the new kid, and in the military world you can end up being the new kid quite a lot! Some kids get used to it; others try something new each time they are new.
We know it can be hard to make the first move to meet friends, so here’s 5 quick tips to get you started off when you’re the newest kid in the neighborhood.
- Sit on your front porch: Call it a military thing or call it natural curiosity, but when there’s a moving truck in the neighborhood, people notice and check things out! If you can, be around when the neighbors come by to introduce themselves to your parents. Be friendly, have a smile, maybe even shake a hand or two. Hopefully by the time the movers have unloaded the truck, you will have met a kid your age.
- Join a club, team, or summer activity: Military bases have all kinds of things going on during the summer months. Once your parent has enrolled you in “the system” check out all the offerings from sports to horseback riding lessons to arts and crafts classes. If it’s something you enjoy, you just might make a new friend who shares your interests.
- Play outside: If the weather’s great and your neighborhood is safe for play, then get outside! Ride your bike around the neighborhood. Dribble a basketball in your driveway. Walk your dog. Bring your younger sibling to the park. The great thing about a military neighborhood? Whoever’s outside, that’s your new buddy. Not into running around in the heat? Ask mom or dad to take you to the base library or the youth services gym. Kids hang out there, too!
- Ask your parents: Your military mom or dad will be assigned to a new unit and will soon have a new group of work buddies. If they ask around, they may find someone in their unit with kids your age. It’s okay! You’re never too old for mom or dad to set up a play date (even if you don’t call it that anymore)!
- Get a sponsor: Many bases offer a sponsorship program. That’s where someone who has been around for a while (months or even years) volunteers to show a new person around. Some youth services programs offer tween or teen sponsor programs. It’s a great way to get to know your new home and meet kids. You might pay this one forward, too. After all, next summer, you won’t be the new kid anymore!
Remember: As the saying goes, “to have a friend you need to be a friend.” New kids will be coming into your neighborhood all the time. Pretty soon, you won’t be the newest kid, so you can be the one to do the welcoming when the next moving truck pulls into your neighborhood.