By now, the new school year has already begun. As your kids walked in on the first day, chances are they were anticipating one important thing: finding out what class they were in.
For larger schools with multiple classes of the same grade, or split classes, there’s a chance that kids might not be in the same class with the same people each year. And sometimes, that means being separated from a best friend or, as kids today call them, besties or BFFs (Best Friend Forever.)
While you work on wiping away the tears once the kids find out they will be spending the entire school year apart from their favourite friend, you might be wondering how this news might impact the year.
Keep calm, because while there are reasons that this might not go over well initially, being separated from a bestie can actually be a good thing.
10 Good: They Can Be More Focused In Class
With a best friend at their side 24/7, kids might get distracted, and their attention taken away from what’s important, which is learning and paying attention in class. Instead of passing notes back and forth (do kids still do that?) or giggling with one another and sharing knowing eye contact whenever they know they’re thinking the same thing, the kids might be more focused on the lessons.
So this can actually be good for your child’s education, as they focus solely on learning in class and can connect with their bestie at recess and after school to fulfill the social aspect.
9 Bad: They Could Grow Apart
Being in the same class brings two people together, as they understand the teacher, things that happen in class, can work on assignments together, and partner up for labs, projects, and other tasks. And naturally, the more time you spend with someone, the closer you become.
With the kids in separate classes, they could start hanging out with different groups of people, pick up different interests, and grow apart. If the friend isn’t your favourite, you might not mind this. But if you like the friend and feel they are a good influence, this could be a tough pill to swallow.
8 Good: They Can Make New Friends
It’s good for kids to learn how to make new friends and find common ground with all kinds of people. It helps them develop their all-important social skills, confidence, and to be more open-minded as they interact with all different kinds of people. Making new friends is a good thing.
Your child might initially be upset, but then find that they meet new kids that they can add to their inner circle of friends, and maybe even introduce to their bestie so they can all hang out together.
7 Bad: They Might Take Up With The Wrong Crowd
Meeting new friends is great, but if your child doesn’t have that buffer of a trusted friend with them, they might end up taking up with the wrong crowd. That could mean kids who are up to no good, or who are generally a bad influence.
With a known friend in class, it might be easier to steer clear of such bad kids. But on their own, your child might feel compelled to follow along in an effort to fit in, and it could go sideways.
6 Good: They Will Value Their After-School Time More
As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. So if your child doesn’t see their best friend in class five days a week, it means they’ll value their after-school hangouts and playdates more.
Make sure to carve out special time where the two can still hang out, whether it’s a Friday afternoon playdate after school, or weeknight sessions where they can do homework together. They can share their homework with one another and help each other through assignments. And they’ll have much more to talk about since they haven’t spent the entire day together already.
5 Bad: They Might Feel Alone
It’s the worst feeling to feel alone in class, and if lots of other kids were together in another class and already know one another, your child might feel alone not having their best friend with them.
Talk with them about the importance of being independent, and not relying on others for their self-worth. And to try and introduce themselves to others, find common interests, and make new friends. If they’re confident in doing this, they won’t feel alone for long.
4 Good: It Might Get Rid Of A Distraction
A best friend in class with you might be a great thing for social development and confidence, but it could also be a distraction. Maybe the friend doesn’t mean to be, but they might spend more time than they should chatting in class or goofing off when they are supposed to be doing lab work or having quiet reading time.
Eliminating the temptation for the child to tell their best friend all about what they did on the weekend during Monday morning’s lesson instead of paying attention to the teacher is a good thing.
3 Bad: They Might Have Worked Well Together
Perhaps the two friends fed off one another well, with one helping the other with their weaknesses in class and vice versa. Not having this solid relationship and one-to-one in help in class could hinder your child’s progress.
This means your child will have to work around their weaknesses another way, perhaps asking for extra help from the teacher, finding another classmate they can work as well with, and working hard to turn their weaknesses into strengths. So view this as an opportunity for personal growth.
2 Good: It Gives Them Room To Grow Independently
Even if your child and their best friend were perfect classmates, helping one another, working well together, and aiding one another in achieving good grades, it’s still critical that your child learn to work and grow independently.
You don’t want them to rely on another person as a crutch in everything they do. So separating them from someone they might have worked well with will force them to work harder on their own, and be able to develop their individual strengths.
1 Bad: They Might Not Learn to Value Friendship
If a child is taken away from their friend each school year, they might start to de-value relationships, believing that they are fleeting and don’t need to be nurtured and cultivated.
Make sure to teach your child to stay in touch with the friends that are most important to them, even if they aren’t in their class. It could be through recess, through playdates, phone calls, texts, or any other route. They need to learn that if a friendship is important, it can last through anything. And its value comes in the way you feel about a person, not how much time you get to spend with them.