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A new school year is starting and, for many of you, this will be the beginning of your child’s school journey. But it’s not just a learning curve for your child – it’s a massive one for you too! Take a look at these top tips on how to avoid playground politics.
- Be friendly and confident
Many parents will seem to be making friends very quickly but don’t forget, there are some with older children who already know each other, so they may seem rather cliquey. Be friendly and confident – seek out another parent who appears to be on their own and start chatting; which class is their child in? You could even suggest a coffee!
- Join the PTA
Joining the PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is a good way to get to know other parents. Not only will you attend meetings with some of them but you could also offer to help out at events they will be holding, e.g. by running a stall or collecting money on the door at, say, a bingo or film night. This helps you meet other parents and you can strike up a conversation that way.
- Don’t try to be friends with everyone
You can’t possibly be friends with everyone but it’s a good idea to get to know the parents of your child’s friends, particularly for later when the inevitable ‘play and tea dates’ and sleepovers start! And don’t gossip about other parents or children, certainly until you know them well enough! You never know who you might be sharing the gossip with!
- School clubs
If your child attends after school or sporting clubs which need the children ferrying back and forth, then volunteer to help out with lifts if you can. Obviously working parents find it more difficult to be at the school gate every day but by helping out when you can, you can earn some brownie points! And, speaking of ‘Brownies’, if your youngster joins the ‘Brownies’ or ‘Cubs’ then again, offer to take or collect other children from these groups. You might need the good deed repaying one day.
- Give it time
Don’t expect to form a friendship within a few days or even a few weeks. Let it grow gradually – after all, your child will be at school for a good few years, so there’s plenty of time!
- Don’t worry
Don’t try and compete with other parents – it’s never worth it and makes you look pushy and competitive – and that’s the easiest way to head for a fall! And don’t try to make friends with everyone – you won’t manage it, so be selective.
- Don’t try to be Superwoman
No one really likes the super-perfect mum who has and does it all, looks gorgeous and always gets everything right. If you’re more comfortable in your old jeans or gym clothes, forgot to bring your child’s PE kit or didn’t have enough time to make home-made cakes for the school cake sale and send in shop-bought ones instead, don’t panic! You’re only human and other parents are more likely to relate to you and respect you if you’re not trying to be Superwoman all the time.
What are your tips for avoiding playground politics? Let us know by commenting below.