Cliquey mums in school yard

(38 Posts)
kazzs Thu 15-Sep-16 09:28:06

So we just started primary school and have moved in from an outside nursery. I dont know any of the children nor does my daughter. The vast majority of children have moved up from the school nursery so a large number of mums already know eachother.
Its been a week and I've managed to chat to 3/4 mums but i find the whole
Playground scenario very cliquey (not really anyones fault!) and am struggling to break it down! Any advise!?!

chamenager Thu 15-Sep-16 10:58:47

Hmm I think it helps if you recognise that these people are merely the parents of your child's school mates and are unlikely to become your friends.
If some do, then that's a bonus!

I think I'd start off with what you need for your DD's sake. Ask if there is a contact list or something (FB page, Whatsapp group, ...) so you can get in touch with other parents to potentially arrange playdates. Then when the time is right, ask your DD who she likes playing with and invite that child for a playdate.

You probably find it nicer to be able to engage in small talk at the school gates than to stand quietly by yourself, so to achieve that, try approaching one person at a time, introduce yourself (hi I'm x's mum, we're new to the school), ask about their children. Usually that will get people talking.

It's entirely possible that you will find the school gate environment unpleasant and will end up just dropping off/picking up and avoiding all social encounters. But it is worth giving it a go - some people may be really nice, just settled in their routines from nursery times.

You can also try the PTA or consider volunteering at school.

chameleon43 Thu 15-Sep-16 11:03:19

it's probably not that bad - these are just groups of people who have already known each other for a year?

Making friends with other parents when the kids are little is fairly quick IME - invite some kids for tea and just try and get involved - PTA was always too much for me but I went along to coffee mornings and helped out at school fairs etc.

if you've already talked to 3-4 people then you're doing fine!

Witchend Thu 15-Sep-16 18:01:26

It's not clique behaviour. it's mums who recognise each other from last year. You can't tell if they're a clique yet if you've only been back a week.

Think about it: You enter a room full of people. Do you go over to the people you recognise, or do you go over to the people you know and have things in common?
Very few people will choose to go to the people they don't know.

Say hello to whoever you meet. Have a few things you ask ("what class" "have you older/younger children" "What's teacher X like") mutual ground things that all can answer.

If you're prepared to do chat then shortly you'll find you are recognising people and thinking "I'll go and ask A about the swimming class her dd was trying," or "There's B, I can always find things to say round here" and you'll be doing exactly the same as the other people.

I'm not very sociable, but have never found school gates a problem.

motherinferior Thu 15-Sep-16 18:04:20

Be patient. They're probably perfectly nice, just catching up with their friends. I have many lovely friends from the primary school gates and both mine are halfway through secondary.

eyebrowsonfleek Thu 15-Sep-16 18:32:17

Have you identified the mums of your child's friends? As a person whose new, they are probably going to be curious to put a face to a name and meet you.

RitchyBestingFace Thu 15-Sep-16 19:01:58

Are you a) trying to make friends for yourself or b) trying to facilitate your DC's social life? If the former then you need to volunteer/join PTA/go to talks and events. You're not going to get a social life at the school gate unless you are an uber-schmoozer.

If b) then chill out - it's been a week, talk to your DD, talk to the children next to her in line - mums always love it when adults pay an interest in their DC - and also let your daughter lead. She is 5/6 so she will be able to tell you which children she wants to invite over.

As someone who hates networking and socialising with big groups I sympathise. You probably think those mums huddling together are bezzie mates about to go to Costa to gossip - in fact they're probably acquaintances who happened to roll up at the same time and making awkward chat about the weather before they go their separate ways.

kazzs Thu 15-Sep-16 22:11:21

I did say cliquey by no ones fault! I didnt mean cliquey as in bitchy i just meant like you said they all gravitate towards eachother cos they all know eachother. Like of course you would expect people to do.. I wouldnt expect anything else. Its just hard when your stood on your own and everyone around you seems to be talking away. Like i say i have talked to a few and added a few on fb and there is a group on there where i know alot of the other mums are in. So im sure in time i will get to know more. At the minute its just all very awkward! Im debating trying to plan a mum social through the fb group. I think its in everyones benefits for the mums and dads to knwo eachother to be honest. I made alt of friends at my daughters nursery who i still keep in touch with. I know my son will be friends with his nursery friends for a long time because i made that effort. Just harder when everyone already knows eachother

Bagina Thu 15-Sep-16 22:22:15

Omg, the fb groups are bad enough; don't organise an actual social event too! Why can't it just be organic??? We just take our kids to school and pick them up, if we click with other parents then great. I really don't want to socialise with other random parents.

kazzs Thu 15-Sep-16 22:36:24

I was just thinking like 'taking my daughter to the beach sat morning if any other reception class 3 mums would like to join us.' Or 'a couple of us are having drinks fri night if any other parents want to join us' Ppl dont have to come but may give shy ones wanting to kno ppl an opportunity. i just think scenarios like that will give us more time to talk then 5 min drop off where u can only talk to person next to u in cue! Is it too much to ask something like that!?!

AppleYumYum Thu 15-Sep-16 22:40:18

I know what you mean, it feels a bit cliquey to me so far too. I know it will come good and maybe if I could look into a crystal ball - some of these people might end up being my friends, but I feel a bit out of it all right now.

My ds just started at a school where only one girl from his nursery (that he wasn't really friends with) has gone - so neither of us really know anyone. A lot of the children have come up from the attached pre-school so my ds struggled last week to play with anyone he said as they stuck together. Thankfully they're mixing better this week by the sounds of it.

Add to that that there were 24 siblings this year so there were only 6 places, so 6 'new' parents, although some of them had their children in the pre school so they still seem to know everyone.

I've no advice but just wanted to say you're not alone feeling like this.

RitchyBestingFace Thu 15-Sep-16 22:51:04

Like I said, if you want to build friendships with other parents then becoming involved with school and PTA activities is the best way to do it. I think it's a bit odd to be trying to organise parent pub socials over Facebook one week into reception class especially if you aren't social at the school gate. Relationships will grow organically over time - you've got six years...

IME most parents want to support their children's social life at school but aren't there specifically to make friends themselves. It may be a happy by product.

gamerchick Thu 15-Sep-16 22:55:01

Is it too much to ask something like that!?!

Sounds like my idea of hell confused why is it in everyone's best interest? There's no law that says you should be friends just because your kids happen to go to the same school man.

FusionChefGeoff Thu 15-Sep-16 22:57:50

I think you are massively over-thinking this. Why are you so desperate to get talking / friends / activities going with them?? You've got years to form friendships with people who you genuinely get on with - I don't see the need to run around like a needy chicken trying to get everyone to like you. DS has just started in reception - I go to school, exchange 1 / 2 sentences with whoever is next to me at drop off / pick up then go about my day - I'm sure by Christmas I might have a better feel for who I'm going to get on with and party invites will help get to know everyone a bit better.

But certainly don't panic! Just relax, make small talk and see what happens.

smellyboot Thu 15-Sep-16 23:12:01

Give it a few weeks and you'll know all your child friends and parents. They may know each other but that doesn't mean they won't welcome new faces

justabigdisco Thu 15-Sep-16 23:15:40

All this talk of 'bitchy cliques' is doing my head in. I've got a couple of pals with kids in the same class as my kid. When we're on the playground, we talk to each other rather than approach randomers for small talk. Does that mean we are bitchy/cliquey? I think you need to relax a bit OP (and I mean that nicely!) - I don't suppose these parents are intentionally shutting you out, they just know each other already!

Bagina Fri 16-Sep-16 06:08:50

I would play the long game and wait a bit longer. It's good that you've spoken to people already; get a feel for people and then mention meeting up on a one to one basis to start with. Also become involved with the school.

My family and I have been in this area for decades, we have all gone to the same school, kids have etc, so I know most people by sight. However, all I hear is them talking about each other behind their backs, falling out, slagging off each others kids being their backs. I don't want to be a part of it. Realise it's not always as rosy as it appears. I'm friendly with one mum only, but at least she's genuine and nice, and we naturally get on.

smellyboot Fri 16-Sep-16 08:07:51

It's way to early to be fretting about it. Those of us with siblings in school and / or who were in nursery etc have been doing the school gates for at least a year and possibly more. I have been doing it for 4 years. i haven't seen any school mum friends for 6 weeks of the holidays in the main. I work and am usually in a rush. I drop my DC off and have a very quick catch up with people, I know. Since starting back, yes I have only said hello to parents I know as I only have a few minutes. The two days I have been early and stood about, I have chatted to whichever familiar faces I have seen. I am outgoing but still don't necessarily just go up and talk to strangers, whose children may not even be in my reception child's class - I don't know who the new parents for his class are....

AppleYumYum Fri 16-Sep-16 08:26:04

That's what I also worry about Bagina, seen so many threads on here about people hurt by school run gossips, party invites, cold shoulders etched, maybe it's better to just drop/pick off your child, say a few words and keep an arms length anyway...

Bagina Fri 16-Sep-16 09:15:50

I know Apple ! I do think that some of these women are bonding by slagging someone off; I think people can do that. There's a very insecure group who keep harping on about their kids being bffs but they actually don't like one of the mums and her child . I can't get on board with slagging children off; that's the most upsetting thing.

I smile and pass the time of day, but that's it. I don't want to be down with the huns in real life; why would I just cos our children are both in the same class?

2014newme Fri 16-Sep-16 09:24:37

I was in same position as you. New to the school. Other parents had known eachother in some cases since antenatal! Joining Pta is great advice you will then know people to say hello to in playground and ours used to gave some social events for members too. Once your child has settled in you xanthine invite their friends to tea you get to know parents through that. We also invited a couple families over for coffee and play on a weekend. Being new to the town it was important to me to make friends via school as I didn't have another route to get to know people locally. I have now made some good friends however I had to work my way through quite a few people to find the ones that were open to friendship eg do they invite you to things in return? I gad many people over who didn't invite us back, no or. Took about a year to make actual friends independent of the kids. I am glad I made the effort, but it was an effort!

Lndnmummy Fri 16-Sep-16 11:11:31

We have just started reception too and my son was the only one that did not come from the same nursery as any of the others. I just walk in with a bright and breezy " hi everyone" and then focus on my ds. I make sure I smile and acknowledge everyone and chat sometimes.

I am not worried about me, I have friends but I was very concerned that ds would find it hard to fit in as the others all know each other. It does not seem to be a problem so far and he is making his friends in his own time. I was worried that he would be excluded or not thought of at play dates etc as he did not know any of the others but all seems ok so far.

Try to bide your time OP, just smile and say hello to them, all of them, and then when your dc start talking about specific kids you can go up to their parents and talk about the fact that your children are friends.

At our school they did not do any get to know each other picnics or open days as the head teacher believes that they are only for the benefits of the parents and not the kids. Her view is that the kids will get help in school to form friendships and when they are formed there then that can carry on outside school with play dates etc but that it should not happen the other way around as it might exclude some kids as it is too much engineered by the parents. I am actually coming around to her pov.

Madcats Fri 16-Sep-16 14:56:29

Do the kids all line up in classes to go into school or do you all have to hang around outside a classroom? Parents are usually close by at that point so you could start making small talk then.

DD's form teacher gave me a helpful steer about class friends and that also helped. Even though we are all at different schools now, and I'm not too sure how long the girls will keep in touch, 2 or 3 of these parents have become lifelong friends.

It is worth making the effort; there are probably 2 or 3 newbies (and other parents craving new friends for DC).

Caipora Fri 16-Sep-16 15:00:46

When my children were in primary school there used to be a Reception children/parents picnic in the local park. It was started by the PTA and it gave new people a chance to socialise with old nursery ones. Join the PTA, it's a good way to get into the school and socialise.
Playgrounds are very cliquey and some parents are worse than the children! But there is usually a very broad range of parents so you will probably find a group that you gel with. Also it's worth always keeping your distance because children fall in and out with each other. Being to friendly with other parents can cause problems when this happens.

DoNotBlameMeIVotedRemain Fri 16-Sep-16 19:18:06

I'd say smile at everyone and say hi to people you make eye contact with. If someone wants to chat ask them about their kids. It's just a bunch of people trying to make things a bit more pleasant for themselves / their kids. Suggesting a meet up at local park after is always a more relaxed way to get to know people.

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