3yr old DD 'one of the quiet ones' long & rambling...

(17 Posts)
Deliaskis Fri 25-Jul-14 13:39:22

This is going to probably make no sense at all, but might help me to get it down and see if there is anything I could/should be doing...

DD is 3yrs, our only child (and is very likely to stay that way for lots of reasons), and when with us and close family she's fun, chatty, active, affectionate, actually hilariously funny, and very affectionate etc.

She just sometimes seems a bit anti-social with other kids. Nursery (where she is 2 days per week, the rest GP care, DH & I work FT) describe her as one of the quiet ones, which is not what she is at home, although they always say they've had a lovely day and she has done loads of things. I have no concerns about the nursery per se, but since she has moved to the pre-school room she does comment about it being very busy and noisy, and I think she is a bit of a wallflower when she is there, although she skips happily up the path when we go.

She has probably two 'close' friends, one who she really just latched onto herself and we now see him sometimes outside of nursery, and one which was more because me and other girl's mum are good friends so my DD has known her a long time and we've had holidays together. Her other nursery 'friends' she just seems to be a bit meh about and doesn't seem to mix all that well. She had a party for her 3rd birthday and invited about 10 kids from nursery, and we see some of them around the village/park etc. at weekend quite a lot, and she does warm up to them if we spend say more than 10 minutes with them, but she can be a bit stand-offish when we first meet them, and I have to really encourage 'say hello to Oliver' etc....

Also if e.g. we are at the park and some other kid pushes her out of the slide queue, she just runs back to me, and then won't go on the slide again all day, even if naughty pushing in kid has gone away.

I don't even know what my concern is really, I am just conscious there is a year until she goes to school and I feel like she is maybe not doing that great at the social side of things with other children.

Having said that, she is great with the two close friends she has, and we just went on holiday with some friends who have a 4yr old and 6yr old and they all got on like a house on fire.

I suppose my question is this: anyone had a child who was a bit of a wallflower who still coped well on starting school, and came out of themselves a bit, and is there anything I can do to help/support her in gaining confidence? Is she just too young to be having any more 'deep' friendships than the ones she has?

D (expert at worrying about nothing at all)

notaflamingclue Fri 25-Jul-14 16:29:49

I didn't want to read and run - I doubt I will have this problem with my own DD, who's still quite small (17mo) - but I was your DD. Your story about the slide really struck a chord.
I remember being very, very quiet in nursery school, primary school and even in to secondary school. However I got progressively less quiet at every stage. I remember once, in nursery, I was left in the nursery assistant's car when all the others had piled out to go in sad.
I have no idea why she overlooked me, but I do think I was very unassuming and shy at that age.
However I always had friends (not millions, but plenty) - some of whom I am still in touch with, who I have known since said nursery school. Throughout school I had a very close-knit group of 3 or 4 friends at most.
People who have met me in later life would never, ever believe that I was the wallflower actually they probably think I'm a bit of a mouthy bint.
I'm not sure there's much more you can do to help her. From a personal POV I always hated being forced into things, e.g. parties, sleepovers etc. I still had to do them. Would I have preferred it if I hadn't been made to go? Sometimes perhaps. But I think it was probably good for me.
Anyway, to stop the navel-gazing, I would say that just because your DD is the quiet one now, doesn't mean that she will always be. As long as she is happy and is not being bullied, she will be ok thanks

Deliaskis Fri 25-Jul-14 17:00:13

notaflamingclue thanks so much for your reply. I really appreciate your thoughts and you have been very reassuring. I know she's only little and it would probably be good for me to stop thinking about the long term ramifications of EVERY little thing!

I am conscious of not trying to force her into things, although some things that she once refused she now loves (e.g. swimming etc.) so I also don't want initial hesitation to become a barrier to trying things she might enjoy. Which I guess is a wider thing than just social/friendships related...

Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

D

Pancakeflipper Fri 25-Jul-14 18:01:25

Hi, I understand why you worry about this. I don't think it needs to be huge issue. I think it's an "issue" that you can help with.

My eldest DS is now 9. At that age he was similar to your DD. He was confident, chatty with us. At nursery quiet and with family quiet. Would ignore friends if saw them in the street/park unless I pushed conversation.

He had 1 very close friend at nursery and was always laughing with him.

Starting school he was very quiet and off the teacher's radar. Pretty much ignored as he was capable, quiet. I encouraged out of school activities to help him gain confidence/talk to others without me there etc...

He's 9 now. He is a very active with lots of interests. He is quiet and bouts of shyness but in class he is apparently an interesting,curious child who talks confidently in front of his peers. The teacher says he gets on well with everyone and well liked by all.

I think his interests give him confidence and make him more noticed in class - he's on the radar. Even the Head Teacher speaks to him about one of his interests that she finds intriguing.

He's aware of his shyness, we keep working it at. He has a notebook that I call his Brilliant Book of Being Pancakeflippers'son. We write in things like him purchasing something the shop and him talking to the shopkeeper. If a parent comments to me positively about his behaviour etc... Things to show him he is able and he is brilliant.

It's slow process. I cannot imagine him at a job interview except for him sat there looking grumpy and giving 1 word answers. But he's gaining confidence and he is realizing he's cool, interesting and good company.

There's lots of books about shyness that might be worth a read.
E.g Overcoming your child's shyness and anxiety by L.Willetts and cath Creswell.

Pancakeflipper Fri 25-Jul-14 18:02:08

Ooops sorry a long ramble by me.

hilbobaggins Fri 25-Jul-14 19:04:31

She sounds like a classic introvert! She may not actually be shy at all. The only needing a couple of close friends, preferring quiet time (being over-stimulated in busy noisy environments). and taking a while to warm up to others is absolutely typical.

Look up Myers Briggs Type Indicator and read about introversion - it might help.

ShellJayne Fri 25-Jul-14 20:21:25

OP - I too have been thinking (worried) about this with my DS who is 3.7. He is in pre-school nursery full time and hates the noise with all the kids - he just doesn't want to be there and I am worried how he will cope at school. When the room only has around 12 kids in he is fine and totally comes out of himself. Parties are a nightmare - he gets so overwhelmed by it all. I am getting increasingly worried and wonder if I am do anything to help. He does have a number of friends there but as an only and we don't have friends with kids I hope he might get better. Any advice on what I can do to help would be appreciated.

notaflamingclue Fri 25-Jul-14 21:46:54

Delia, I'm glad I was of some comfort. I know exactly what you mean - I am already panicking about DD's friendships and peer interaction.
I think you're right to keep on with the activities she likes / has liked. She will enjoy it and meet friends, of course. Just one thing I'd say - don't make her do everything, go to every party (unless she wants to). The odd reprieve worked wonders for me smile

Deliaskis Mon 28-Jul-14 13:49:51

Thanks so much all for responses and sharing experiences. It's all really interesting stuff. I'm going to read some of the recommendations, and make sure I do my best to support her but not force her to be someone she's not.

Thanks again
D

Bumpsadaisie Mon 28-Jul-14 14:05:46

1. Your DD will grow up an enormous amount before starting school in Sept 2015. Really she will.

2. Some kids are extrovert, boisterous, chat to all and sundry etc. Some are quieter and like to have one or two special friends they feel comfortable with.

3. At three they are only really just getting to the age of wanting to have friendships in the sense that we would understand them, rather than just "playing alongside".

4. Its not necessary to be a raging extrovert to cope well with starting school. The children who cope well (whether extrovert or introvert) are those who have enough self control to follow instructions, manage basic self care, be able to be attentive and listen, be flexible and fit in with the parameters set by the school, negotiate with peers and concentrate well. Some kids like to play in huge groups, tearing round the playground, climbing on the playground, kicking a ball. Others like to go somewhere quiet with one or two special friends or friends.

5. The EYFS has 17 ELGs (which is the assessment at the end of YR). You will find your DD is good at some of them and less good at others. Very few children manage to nail all of them to a high standard, by definition some parts of development go faster than others. Eg my DD exceeded expectations on the academic ELGs but was a bit behind on physical confidence and the ability to listen well and follow instructions promptly (i.e. she has her head in the clouds and daydreams!). She is not a child who likes a challenge and she always waits for others to try a new activity before she will have a go herself. That is how she is!

The school have worked really hard to encourage my DD in the areas she finds more challenging. All the "well done" certificates she gets are not for academic stuff (which comes easy to her) but for having the confidence to jump in at swimming, or making a sustained effort in PE, or listening well and not going off into a daydream. If your DD does lack social confidence by the time she starts you will find the school will probably find ways to encourage her.

Bumpsadaisie Mon 28-Jul-14 14:08:09

PS my DS, who I always thought was the quieter of my two, is actually shaping up to be more of an extrovert than his elder sister. He is much more boisterous and has started going up to strangers and quizzing them. He is 2.8 and now looking back I realise my DD although a very verbal child would NEVER have done this. Even now she is embarrassed when her brother does it. They can surprise you, the way they turn out!

FlatPacker Mon 28-Jul-14 14:27:53

I'm like the first poster to reply. Nursery didn't think I could talk I was so in my own world, non-communicative. Not so now though, totally different.

I have a DD similar age to yours too and I watch her play, always on the sidelines, doing her own thing. I think it's fine and she actually likes going to pre-school. Even now, she goes to the summer all-day groups and enjoys them....but always on her own terms, from the sidelines.

KEGirlOnFire Tue 29-Jul-14 12:28:11

OP - have you stolen my DD?? grin

Let me give you the benefit of my experience with an identical DD who has just finished her first year of Reception.

DD is a very small child for her age. She's 5 but the height of a 3 year old. She has always been the smallest, everywhere she's been.

She was with a CM until she was just over 2 when she went to Pre-school for 2 days a week and with CM for 2 days. At the pre-school she was described as 'a little dot' as she was so small and quiet. When all the other children went out to play she wanted to stay in and finish her drawing/writing practice/reading etc. When she left the pre-school they said that she was quiet but popular (although I think a lot of that was to do with her size - she was mothered by the other children).

But then DD started school. She is NEVER going to be one of the loud ones. But during her last week of school she went up to three boys in her class who were doing a show and asked if she could join in (she would NEVER have done that a year earlier). She has lots of friends and I am very sociable so arranged lots of play dates through the year. She is much louder than she was. Sings, dances and is just totally different.

On her end of year report she got 9 Exceeded and 8 Expected in the ELGs. All the 'Expected' were for confidence, relationship building etc. I was thrilled!! Three of the Exceededs were for the section on Imagination/Roleplay etc. The others were the more 'academic' sections.

We're amazed at how far she has come from the quiet little girl that she used to be.

Don't give up hope. The only advice that I would give you is that if you get a choice, try and put her into a small school. We are very lucky to live in a village surrounded by other villages, all of which have small schools. DD is in a school with a total of 100 children. smile It has done her the world of good.

thecageisfull Tue 29-Jul-14 12:36:17

she sounds like me and my DS1. I struggled through school, especially secondary school, mainly because I had a nagging feeling that there was something wrong with me. I didn't seem able to get pleasure from the same things that the more popular kids got pleasure from, like parties or the last day of term free-for all. As soon as I clocked on that I was an introvert and that was OK then life got a whole lot better.

Deliaskis Tue 29-Jul-14 20:35:32

Thanks again all for more responses. It's actually really fascinating reading about different experiences. The funny thing is, after reading a little bit, I'm not totally convinced that I'm not an introvert myself, I tick a lot of those boxes, so that's been interesting learning for me. Not least because it has highlighted that I need to be careful not to project e.g. DD you must have hundreds of friends because I was always a bit worried that I didn't... (I had a smaller number of close friends throughout school etc.).

BarbaraPalmer Tue 29-Jul-14 20:50:28

dd1 is an introvert

she took to school like a duck to water, having struggled socially a little at nursery. she's still quiet now at 7yo, but her headteacher describes her as quietly confident, which I think is right.

I think the greater structure took the pressure off, and she is better in situations where she knows the "rules" of interaction, rather than in less structured settings where you need to be more skilled at reading the situation. She has gathered a little bunch of quieter kids that are her friends, and I have hosted a lot of playdates in order to ensure that these friendships are developed and maintained, as she's better 1:1 and on her own turf.

Pico2 Tue 29-Jul-14 21:05:15

My DD is described as being very outgoing at nursery, friends with everyone etc. but if we bump into a child from nursery at the playground other than her few closest friends, she does take time to warm up. And in new situations she tends to cling to me a bit. If something happens to her (like your slide example) she will avoid the area and the child in question.

I think even the most extrovert children show some of the same behaviours.

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