dd age 6 is struggling with friends

(36 Posts)
orangeandlemons Fri 08-Mar-13 13:39:00

I don't know what to do.

When dd started preschool, she kept saying that certain girls wouldn't play with her. eventually she swapped preschool and was very happy there. She was also very happy in reception.

However, in Year 1 she started getting left out, and saying no one wanted to play with her. We went up to school, and it was sort of sorted, but they were constant rumblings of discontent from dd.

Now in Year 2 and the same thing is happening again. She says no one plays with her at dinnertimes or playtime. I took her into school yesterday, lots of girls running up and saying hello to her...

Parents evening last night. Teacher says that dd seems to have become very withdrawn. 2 dinner ladies have commented to her, that dd was sat all alone on bench at dinner and playtime. DD has mentioned this to us, but we thought it might pass, although she has been upset about it. Teacher is now going to take action.

But this has been going on for 2 years, and I don't know what to do. Is it DD? Does she have problems? She was a very early and very prolific smiler and seems to have very good social skills, so I don't understand. She never gets invited to parties or playdates, unless we make the effort, but it is often not reciprocated.

A lot of the girls in her class seem to have parents who are very good friends and hey seem to spend a lot of time together with their kids, but I'm not sure this is all it is. It is a very large infant school, so there are lots of children to play with.

I was crying last night. All the evidence I can find, is that this marks kids for ages, and will continue to cause problems. I have asked teacher about HFA, although I am almost sure dd isn't.

Lotta1234 Fri 08-Mar-13 13:45:21

Not had experience of this as dd is 2 but both my mum and sister didn't really have friends in primary school and now have lots. It sounds like you're doing the right things. Are you able to take her to a club outside school and help her build some friends there? This helped with my sister.

orangeandlemons Fri 08-Mar-13 13:48:38

Yes, we've been looking at Saturday drama classes for her. Also she seems fine at holiday clubs, she seems to mix very easily there. I just want to cry for her...

Lastyearsmodel Fri 08-Mar-13 13:48:56

No advice, but my DD1 (6.6) sounds similar, and I've been more worried recently as she says 'no-one will play with me' every day. She is quiet and introverted but usually confident in herself. She does like to be the boss of a game, so struggles with listening to others' ideas for games, and has chosen a girl to be very friendly with who is popular, so we have tales of 'so-and-so stole her from me'.

All I can think of is to keep talking about friendly behaviour (DD can be grumpy with people when they say hello, etc), encourage particular friendships by inviting friends to tea, and maybe try an out of school group like brownies or beavers.

It's horrid though - you just want to wave a magic wand for them.

orangeandlemons Fri 08-Mar-13 13:56:13

Last year, my dd sounds identical to yours, except dd is not quiet or introverted, but she does lack confidence. I am at my wits end tbh

Lastyearsmodel Fri 08-Mar-13 18:58:03

What action has her teacher proposed?

Is there a school-wide policy or similar on friendship/social skills? I'm wondering about mentioning buddy benches to DD1's school, somewhere they can sit if they have no one to play with and a playground buddy or monitor comes to see them.

There are books on teaching friendship skills that have been recommended on here. will see what i can find.

Lastyearsmodel Fri 08-Mar-13 19:00:21
Lastyearsmodel Fri 08-Mar-13 19:45:09

The Unwritten Rules of Friendship

I haven't read either of these but they were listed on another thread as being useful. HTH.

orangeandlemons Fri 08-Mar-13 19:54:02

I don't know as yet. She is going to talk to dd and the others in the class and monitor playground. She is then going to get back to us. It is just so heartbreaking. Will take a look at those books, but are they suitable for a 6 year old?

Lastyearsmodel Fri 08-Mar-13 20:13:26

From the reviews, I think the first one is and the second one is for you to read.

TreadOnTheCracks Fri 08-Mar-13 21:08:25

I second www.amazon.co.uk/How-Be-Friend-Friends-Families/dp/0316111538/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362769140&sr=1-6

We have it and it's lovely. Give it a go as a discussion opener.

TreadOnTheCracks Fri 08-Mar-13 21:10:31

I have the unwritten rules of friendship too, but haven't managed to read it yet sometimes i think just having the book on my shelf will help

DD went through a bit of this, she is year 3 now and it seems to have calmed down, although she still occasionally says she had no one to play with.

MrsMushroom Sat 09-Mar-13 00:26:38

My Dd had this aged 7...but she never complained to me, her teacher told me. DD was being asked to join in games, but would not.

It seemed to be a crisis of confidence and the teacher was a marvel.

She instigated a new routine at playtime....dressed up as a learning experience...which it was. It was that she would organise old fashioned circle games, the DC could join in or not as they chose but of course they all chose to...then she handed "games cards" to a different child each day...these cards were a list of the games and the rules, the games master then had to allocate roles to the other children...and explain the rules.

The teacher made my DD be games master a lot! And a few other quieter children too.

The DC loved it and it really helped DD. She was then actively joining in...because the teacher had basically told her to! I 2nd Brownies...it has massively helped DD. She's still quiet but she has friends and now mentions certain girls who I think she is starting to form bonds with.

TreadOnTheCracks Sat 09-Mar-13 09:15:14

Mrs Mushroom - that's a lovely story. I'm a lunchtime controller and I'm pinching that idea!

orangeandlemons Sat 09-Mar-13 10:27:50

Thanks for help guys. Will be buying that book. I have tried so hard to get her into Brownies, but the waiting lists are ridiculous. Have decided to enrol her in a drama/singing/ group on Saturday afternoon too to help build her confidence and make new friendships. It seems to be a situation which is purely school related. They are going into Junior school next year, so hopefully they may mix up the classes a bit.

MrsMushroom Sat 09-Mar-13 18:37:22

Tread I know...that teacher was young and very energetic and I'll never forget what she did for DD. She REALLY cared in a genuine way about all the children...she cried one day when she was telling me in private that another child in the class was seriously ill.

theliverpoolone Sat 09-Mar-13 20:02:24

Really helpful to read this thread, as we're also going through this. My dd (5) struggled a lot in Reception and spent many playtimes alone as she doesn't have the confidence to join in. I thought things were improving now we're in Yr1 as she buddied up with one particular girl, but this girl 'doesn't let her' (dd's words) play with other children, but then if the girl is off school or decides to play with someone else, my dd is left by herself, which has happened a lot over the last couple of weeks sad. I keep trying to talk to dd about how they don't just have to play in pairs (seems quite common in girls?), or about how to initiate joining in, but she gets very evasive and obviously doesn't want to talk about it with me. As someone else said, I wish I could wave a magic wand for her.

TreadOnTheCracks Sun 10-Mar-13 01:12:39

Liverpoolone heart breaking isn't it. Try the how to be a friend book recommended upthread. It's worth the money (I'm not on commission promise).

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 11:20:47

Ask your children's teachers which other DC are struggling socially....I promise you that in an average class of 30 4 and 5 year old's there will be around 10 of them

Then arrange playdates....not loads....just one every few weeks. A trip to the park straight after school is a good one too....no pressure for anyone concerned and I bring snacks like muffins or something....the DC feel like they're on a treat then and can forge little unions.

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 11:23:53

It is important to talk to other parents too....I was very open about my DDs struggle and was amazed by how accomodating and kind other mums were, many made sure to include DD in things...trips to park and playdates. I try to emulate this with my younger, more confident DD and encourage her to look out for the shyer kids in her class.

I've explained that "X may not talk much but it does not mean she doesn't want to play with you and the others, please make sure that sometimes you ask her if she'd like to play too."

My Mum said it wasn't fair on DD...to carry the weight of responsibility for other DC...but that's wrong imo. A community...a school...depends on the members all pulling together and helping fill the gaps.

orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 12:19:26

Mrs Mushroom, That's a good point about talking to other mums. However I didn't realise there would be that number struggling socially. Is it something they grow out of do you reckon?

lottieandmia Sun 10-Mar-13 12:24:25

Girls can be awful for leaving each other out. And it seems to get worse as they get older ime! I have a dd in year 4 and she has had various issues at one time or another and I find that they tend to blow over. I remember that reception is a nice year because everyone does play together and nobody gets left out. It is awful when you feel your child is suffering at school. How many children are in her class?

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 12:24:36

Yes I do...I think most of them grow out of it to some extent although some are simply naturally introverted which is fine.

A small minority have social trouble because of special needs such as Autism spectrum disorders or hearing trouble....(and lots more reasons) but the vast majority are simply young or shy/quiet.

There are a small percentage of kids who find socialising easy...but they are a minority imo.

If your DD is shy and quiet, is drama the best choice for her? These groups are often full of extroverted kids...I've taught at them...there are usually a small amount of shy kids who are brought along to help them come out of themselves...I'm always wary of these types of groups for shy kids.

I think they can do better in Brownies but as you say there's a long waiting list...have you tried to see if there is a pack which is a bit further from home?

My DD isn't in our local one...she goes to another which is not as busy.

orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 12:29:45

She isn't shy really, she is quite confident. She seems really sociable when I take her to school, so I don't know what's going on. I don't think she is particularly assertive, and this I think is the issue, but she is neither shy nor quiet, but she is one of the youngest in the class. There a 30 kids in her class, and 4 other classes in her year

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 12:57:28

So she's confident...but she's being excluded by the sound of it.

There could be one of two things going on here...or a mix of both.

One; she is being bullied by exclusion and Two she's perhaps not yet learned the unwritten social rules of play....is she a team player? Does she mind losing or not always being in charge?

At 6 she's very young yet and they sometimes haven't learned how to play together well.

Have you seen her at play with others much? What are your impressions of her skills?

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