cm71_cafeteria_1by Kym Byrnes

As summer winds down and Carroll County’s 26,000 plus public school students start to ponder the return to school, nervousness is sure to flare.

Finding each classroom, making friends, remembering locker combinations, fitting in, making the team, and a whole host of other nightmare-inducing scenarios start to rise.

The universal “ugh” for most students during the first week of school?

Cafeteria time.

Sit down with your sons and daughters and share some of these tips that might help the time pass with more ease.

  1. SHARE: Eons ago, kids who shared gum and cigarettes were the most popular kids in school. Play on that same theme, take some gum or some chocolate into school to offer up to others (where it’s allowed).
  2. CONNECT EARLY: Timing matters – before you walk in the school doors, connect with at least one other person and confirm that you will have lunch together – connect during class, connect in gym, connect on the bus, but connect before lunchtime.
  3. TWO PEAS IN A POD: Find the person who looks really uncomfortable and approach him or her. Confirm that eating in the cafeteria is one of your least favorite things to do because you never know where to sit or who to sit with.  Chances are that person is feeling exactly the same way and will let you know. Bingo – you have someone to sit with.
  4. CREATIVITY: An artist offers this tip based on her own experiences: Offer to sketch pictures of peers during lunch or recess time. Get creative, maybe you can’t sketch, but maybe you have other valuable information to share like how to get that goat in Minecraft or where to get the best bargain on a dress for Homecoming.
  5. CROWD NOT REQUIRED: If you are someone who is comfortable going solo, then go for it. Check your email, read a book, study for an upcoming class. There’s a good chance that if you look comfortable and non-threatening sitting by yourself at the lunch table, others will sit with you who are also looking for some peace or a new friend.