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Meeting New People

This fall, many kids are going back to school in a completely unfamiliar environment. Whether it’s because of a family move or a transition from grade school to middle school, these kids are walking into new situations and meeting strange faces.

If your tween is heading off to a new school, you can help him or her be more successful. One trick is to teach your tween the simple skill of greeting others. Start by practicing how to greet others appropriately. For example, pretend you are a stranger and have your tween introduce himself or herself to you by doing the following:

  1. Stand up straight. If he or she is sitting or doing something else, have your tween stop immediately, smile, and greet you with a “Hi” or “Hello.”
  2. Make eye contact with you.
  3. Offer his or her hand and shake your hand firmly.
  4. Say his or her name, while shaking hands, loudly and clearly enough to be heard easily.
  5. Make a friendly statement, such as, “Nice to meet you.”

Other tips to share with your tween when practicing this skill include:

  • Be pleasant. If you are gruff or your voice is harsh, people won’t get a good impression of you.
  • Let your introduction start a conversation. If you start out on the right foot, it is more likely that you’ll have a pleasant conversation. Make your first impression a good impression.
  • Ask, “And your name is?” if the other person does not give his or her name.
  • Be willing to reintroduce yourself when someone forgets your name or when you have not seen a person for a long time. If you recently met the person, you may choose just to say, “Hi, in case you forgot, I’m ... ”
  • Remember names. People will be impressed if you take the time to remember them.

Have your son or daughter practice this skill with other family members or people he or she is close to. The more your tween practices, the more natural the behavior will become.

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