Dear American Girl,
There's a new girl in my class, but my classmates haven't been very nice to her. The other kids tend to ignore her, and she can't seem to find her place among the groups of friends in our class. I feel bad for her. What can I do to make her feel more welcome? And is there anything I can do to help her start friendships with others in the class?
-Not the new girl
Here's your advice:
When you have lunch, instead of sitting at your regular table, sit with the new girl. She'll probably feel happy that someone is being nice to her. And if your friends see you being kind to her, they might do the same.
-An American Girl fan, age 12, England
If she rides your bus, say, "May I sit next to you?" Ask her how she likes her new school or if there's anything you can do to help. After all, at some point, you were the new girl, too.
-Grace, age 11, Texas
Try to start a friendship with her. Maybe after she has made a friend in the class, her personality will shine through and she'll make more friends.
-Hannah, age 13, South Dakota
Invite her to your house after school to bake cupcakes or watch a movie. You'll make her feel more welcome and have fun, too.
-Elise, age 11, Massachusetts
Making this girl feel better can be as simple as smiling and giving her a little wave in the hallway. It will probably cheer her up, and it might be the start of a new friendship.
-Caroline, age 12, Georgia
Whenever there's a new girl in my class, I make a card for her. In my note, I write, "Hi! If you need help finding a classroom or anything else, you can ask me. Welcome to our class!" When a new girl joined my class last year, I did this, and now we are best friends.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Texas
Go out of your way to help this girl. If she's alone at lunch, sit next to her. If she spills her water, help her clean it up. If she is searching for a pencil, offer her one of yours. This girl sounds as if she could use a friend like you.
-Autumn, age 9, Ohio
Standing alone might be difficult, but it's worth it to make another person feel accepted. Invite her to a sleepover or a birthday party. She'll appreciate that you thought of her, and it'll give her the chance to get to know other girls in your class.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Virginia
Try to learn about this girl's interests and hobbies, and then involve her in conversations with others. If one of your friends loves horses, you could include the new girl and say to her, "Abby, you take horseback-riding lessons, right?" New friendships could form as a result of finding common interests.
-Kyla, age 12, Massachusetts
Give this girl a small, heartfelt gift, such as a homemade bookmark or bracelet. It's the thought that counts, and I'm sure it will help her feel welcome.
-Casey, age 11, Pennsylvania
Start a conversation with her by giving her a compliment. Say, "I like your shirt," or, "That headband is so cute." It's a great conversation starter and might give her a boost.
-Emily, age 10, Connecticut
Introduce her to others in your class. When I was new, a girl introduced me to her friends, and that helped a lot.
-Sydney, age 9, New Jersey
If you are the first one to reach out to this girl, you can be a role model to the other kids. They might be inspired by your kindness and start doing the same.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, New York
Be supportive of this girl. She might be feeling a bit lost and down on herself lately. If she makes a mistake, say, "Keep trying—you've almost got it!" She could use a little extra encouragement.
-Hannah, age 9, Wisconsin
It doesn't matter what your classmates do. All that matters is that you are not one of the people ignoring her.
-Zoe, age 11, California
If you have a class project, offer to be this girl's partner. Little things like this can help her feel more comfortable.
-Leah, age 10, Georgia
How would you want to be treated if you were the new girl? You'd want people to be kind and not ignore you. Be nice to her, and remember golden rule—treat others as you want to be treated.
-Ava, age 11, Indiana
You can't make your classmates be friends with this girl, but you can start by being her friend. She will appreciate your kindness. Kudos to you for caring about others!
-Shawnee, age 10, New York