Feel sad for my dd. admits she often has no one to play with :-(

(56 Posts)
sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 09:39:33

My dd (yr 3) got upset and admitted that often she has no one to play with at lunchtime. She says she often sits on the friendship circle but no one comes. She is bright, funny and has some great friends but in turn they have other friends too so often gets left out in groups . She says she plays imagination games on her own but I'm not sure how to help ?

JuliaScurr Sun 11-Nov-12 09:44:47

It's horrible when this happens, you have my sympathy. Is the teacher aware? Does the school have any intervention system?

mrz Sun 11-Nov-12 09:49:03

I think you need to make the teacher aware.
Is there any reason why your daughter can't play with her friends in a larger group (with their other friends) or are they excluding her? or could it be that she is choosing not to join in with their games ?

sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 09:56:48

I think I will ask teacher on Monday. She has been separated from her friend so lunchtimes vary slightly so by the time my dd has finished lunch her friend is already playing a game with other friends. My dd is shy/gets embarrassed easily and says that she sometimes ask and they say no as have started game and think her confidence is being knocked. She says that if she does get to play she sometimes gets the game wrong or tries to suggest things and then gets embarrassed when they say no or shout at her sad. Then when she comes home she says "mummy why does no one like me "

Definately make teacher aware. My dd was like this, the teacher encouraged and organised whole class games on the playground.

Its really helped to intergrate her into the class.

sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 09:58:42

The intervention system is to sit on this friendship circle and other members of the class should come and check it but not sure it's successful ! The idea is good but not if other children/ buddies are not picking the children up.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 10:08:59

This is the same for my dd,millet her take little toys and books into school, I know I probably shouldn't but she will happily play or read for bit on her own.

TheEnthusiasticTroll Sun 11-Nov-12 10:11:09

Millet confused. That should be I let her

sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 11:42:25

It's horrible isn't itsad!she said the dinner ladies take little toys away from them. She takes a note pad and pencil and keeps it in her pocket but I want her to be playing with her friends.

Fairenuff Sun 11-Nov-12 12:02:17

If you let the school know, the staff on duty at lunchtime will keep an eye on her and ecourage other children to invite her into their games. This is a common problem, but easily resolved if the staff are aware of it. Speak to her class teacher tomorrow morning.

messybedhead Sun 11-Nov-12 12:05:45

My DD was like this. It wasn't that there was anything particularly wrong with her, but she just didn't gel with any of the girls in her class.

In the end I changed her school in Yr3. Within a week she had settled and now has a close friendship with 3 other girls involving sleepovers and days out together. It was the best thing I could have done for her.

As a teacher, I've often seen it where children don't seem to have any real friends in the class. I encourage others to play with them or 'buddy' them, and get them to join in each others games. I also encourage parents to organise 'get togethers' outside of school and point them in the direction of other like minded children who are equally shy or have similar interests.

HOWEVER I also have had worried parents asking why their child doesn't have anyone to play with, when that is not the case at all.

I would say though that by Yr 3 you have a good idea of friendships. Does she get invited to play dates (hate that term) or parties or anything? (My DD didn't).

You could encourage friendships outside of school by joining clubs maybe?

I'm sorry I don't have much advice but I just wanted to let you know that it's not a trivial thing to worry about. It's important for our DCs to feel secure and have friendships.

sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 12:48:43

Thanks for your replies she has one friend who she gets invited to play with lots outside school but that's it really, she does a few groups outside school but comes across as shy/not confident at these I think so hasn't made any new friends. As I said she loves school and says that this isn't that important but I think she's just saying that. She really is a lovely girl and I just can't understand it!

sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 12:50:11

A few party invites too but not as many as her other friends ( I know from chatting to there mums!)

auntevil Sun 11-Nov-12 15:44:30

Sorry to hijack - by my DS2 is the same. He doesn't have any close friends as he is on the periphery of friendship groups, but never in the close circle.
I think it is rather a rosy picture to say that it can always be easily sorted.
His school have made several attempts to get things working, but it has never achieved anything. We did nearly get there, and then the lad moved school, so we were back at square 1.
He hasn't been invited to a party for over 18 mths - and that was only due to his big brother being the main invite.
Lunchtime supervisors are a little limp. They do organised games, but quite often it is skipping, or aimed at specific individuals.
He does do clubs after school, but has not made any friends there either.
His teacher last year couldn't understand it, although did say that the class dynamic had changed and that there were different groupings after a few left and a few joined. She seemed to infer that he was mature for his age and that the only boys that would regularly play with him were quite immature, so games were often short lived.
He is so sad about it - he often cries to me and tells me that he has no friends - so I feel for you sunnyshine. It is heart breaking to not be able to help your child in these situations.

sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 17:00:41

I think that's partly it, she is very mature but still a child. She would rather spend time with adults than children which is an odd situation as has always been around other children. She is not mature in the sense of make up , confidence etc but has a very mature head in her shoulders, knows right from wrong, will not put a foot wrong at school etc.! I wonder if that's whats making her not be able to forge ( except the one) friendships. This heartbreaking! Will make appt to see teacher ASAP I think and see if she has any thoughts?

auntevil Sun 11-Nov-12 17:13:54

If it's any help, I have had the conversation with DS about his dad (DH). He had no friends at school - neither did my DB. It used to really upset me with my DB - particularly as I was a social butterfly, always out. I know DH's story mainly from my MIL - but DH confirms it.
I tell him to look at them both now. Both of them have excellent social lives envy . Whilst they do not have hundreds of friends, they have really good and loyal friends. Friends that will travel from Europe just to have a weekend drink "'cos we hadn't seen each other for a few weeks".
Whilst it breaks my heart now as he is at school, and still so young, I hope and pray that he will just be like them. That when he does get good friends that they will be true and long lasting and not fly by nights.

sunnyshine Sun 11-Nov-12 19:42:17

I know your right aunt evil but seems a long way off at the moment. Will see if I can catch teacher tomorrow and go from there I think. Just want everything to be ok!

acebaby Sun 11-Nov-12 20:56:33

massive sympathies. We have changed schools this year (DS1 in yr3 and DS2 in Reception), and DS1 is having friendship issues. This is in a small private school, with a reputation for being very 'nurturing' sad. It is so painful to watch isn't it...

Perhaps we can keep this thread going for those of us with DC's of about this age who are struggling?

Fairenuff Mon 12-Nov-12 08:21:21

The school that I work in has fantastic pastoral support, so maybe this problem is not so easily solved in other schools.

We would put a plan into place so that all staff were aware that this child might need support with friendships. We even take groups of children together off the playground to play adult led games and help build relationships, if it helps. There are lots of strategies that staff can use to help integrate children but it does depend on the school's ethos and procedures.

Hopefully, the teacher will have some good suggestions, I am sure that this is not the first time she's had to deal with something like this.

sunnyshine Mon 12-Nov-12 10:29:01

Thank you all so much, you have been really helpful and I'm going to see what school suggests and put some of your suggestions forward. I would consider changing school if not resolved but how do you know that wouldn't make it worse ie no friends. It's all too hard. I expected friend issues at secondary school but not yet. I so wasn't prepared for her feeling like this.

iseenodust Mon 12-Nov-12 10:41:45

DS's school run a board games club one lunchtime per week. Maybe one of the lunchtime supervisors could do that as winter comes? Your DD will not be the only child finding playground tough.

GreenGables1 Mon 12-Nov-12 11:14:22

I posted on this a couple of weks ago, after my son changed schools. We're a week into the school trying to sort it out, via chats about friendships in PHSE. We've had one great day when he was asked to join in games and then its kind of slid back... Its very hard to see him unhappy but I'm trying to grit my teeth and be positive for him. He's allowed to take comics etc in to entertain himself but worries about standing out by doing that. Unfortunately all they seem to do at lunchtime is running around playing tag and being v boisterous, there aren't any other activities, which I think would help. I really feel for you, its hard to think of your child being miserable.

sunnyshine Mon 12-Nov-12 13:44:01

Iseenodust what a lovely idea for the board games group. She would love that. I finding it hard to know what to say to the teacher without coming across as pfb and them saying there's nothing wrong. I hope they don't do that. Will keep you informed.

mrsshackleton Mon 12-Nov-12 14:11:43

I posted on GreenGables thread about this a few weeks back, dd1 y3 of new school, similar complaints. She also doesn't like the boisterous games the children play. I have mentioned it twice to the teacher who tells me everyting is fine and now feel I can't again without seeming pfb. It's heartbreaking. So, sorry, again no advice but much sympathy

Leeds2 Mon 12-Nov-12 16:06:09

Are there any lunchtime clubs that your DD could join? It might help her form friendships with other like minded children, and let them get together in a more relaxed atmosphere. At my DD's primary, the library was open for a couple of lunchtimes a week so that the children could change their books, read, lsten to audio CDs etc. Maybe your DD's school does something similar?

sunnyshine Mon 12-Nov-12 19:24:47

No lunchtime clubs and library is only manned at certain times. Can anyone link to the other thread? I looked before posting this one but couldn't see anything similar. Today when we talked she said she never gets invited to party's either sad ( think someone gave out invites again )

GreenGables1 Mon 12-Nov-12 22:21:59
mummytime Mon 12-Nov-12 22:31:33

My second child had problems (and I'm still not sure why as she is a very sociable child). I just kept drawing it to teacher's attention. Things improved the most when they got a student teacher to go and do some observation in the playground.
I would also definitely recommend finding a group outside school and with other children, it has helped my children through difficult times.

iseenodust Tue 13-Nov-12 10:05:55

I think it would be perfectly reasonable to suggest to the head that a few lunchtime clubs could help the school community generally. examples could be recorder, board games, choir. (None of those need major kit nor expense.)

ChipOnMyShoulder Tue 13-Nov-12 10:18:31

Sorry to hear about your DD - it always makes me feel slightly better that it's not just my DS, who struggles socially and is always on the periphery of what's going on. As time goes on, I feel his friends are drawing away from him, and I think to some extent he's given up a bit.

It also doesn't help that he's very drawn to a charismatic, very domineering boy in his class who treats DS like an annoying younger brother. He's nice to DS when he feels like it, but most of the time he doesn't, but like a magnet, DS keeps going back for more. Makes my heart bleed sad, but DH insists that he has to learn how to deal with these things, and we shouldn't intervene unless it's causing real unhappiness.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack!

ChipOnMyShoulder Tue 13-Nov-12 10:23:03

Oh, and one more thing.

My DS is a stickler for the rules too, Sunnyshine, just like your DD. He's terrified of getting into trouble and a bit of a goody two shoes (but also very kind and sensitive). Perhaps children are put off by this...

DewDr0p Tue 13-Nov-12 10:31:43

Ds1 had some similar issues last year due to friendship groups evolving.

Could you invite one or two of the other girls round for tea (one at a time) over the next few weeks? Also it might be worth finding out what everyone is into at the moment. Ds really benefitted from getting the Lego Star Wars game for the Wii - it was all any of them were talking about for a while! Not suggesting your dd should change to fit in but sometimes a bit of extra playground currency is useful.

You are definitely doing the right thing by talking to school. Hope it goes well.

Finally, not sure if this helps but ds is absolutely fine now, back to his cheery and confident self. So these things can be turned around.

sunnyshine Tue 13-Nov-12 10:46:36

I agree she is a complete goody two shoes but it makes her who she is! They have clubs but all after school and for example a club for yr 3,4,5 and 6 with 14 spaces!! She never gets on anything. I think I will talk to school. Have phoned for an appt with the teacher and may chat to head too more generally. The problem with inviting friends over is she always ask for the same couple so is not expanding the group. If I say what about so and so she says "no mummy they don't play with me" I don't want to force people on her sad I hope that today is a good day and she's included but I already find myself thinking what if she's all Alone this lunchtime?

3bunnies Tue 13-Nov-12 11:24:31

Would you be willing to volunteer to run a board game group or similar once a week. Sometimes these things just need a volunteer or two to get them going.

My dd1 is also fairly mature for her age, always has been, in terms of moral reasoning etc, and although she has two friends whom she sees as her best friends, I'm not convinced that they are as committed to her as she is to them. She seems fairly happy for the momennt and will go and play with anyone, but doesn't seem to be part of a group iyswim.

We have been discussing her party and has taken a real effort to get her to consider inviting more than 2, and I know that some of those invites won't be reciprocated but I feel we need to make the effort. It is funny because dd2 only has one really close friend, and two other aquaintancies, but she seems more solid in those friendships, so don't think it is the number per se but the quality.

Leeds2 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:30:13

At the school my friends' children used to go to, the lunchtime clubs were run by volunteer parents. I know my friend was on a rota to help at the sewing club, and the craft one. I also heard mention of a gardening club in the summer. Would your school be amenable to any club being set up if you offered to run it for them, so that staff didn't have to give up their lunchtime? Appreciate this isn't possible if you work, or have children at home. Would also involve school in getting CRB checks for any helpers, but they might be willing to give it a go.

Hope it all goes well in your meeting with the teacher, and she has something positive to offer.

AmandinePoulain Tue 13-Nov-12 11:58:45

I could have written your post. Dd is 4, she has just started reception at the same school that she attended nursery, with the same children. At parents evening a few weeks ago her teacher told me that she is popular and although she mostly played with one little girl, who we've had over to play and socialised with outside school, she played with lots of different children. However, her 'best' friend (let's call her A) has now decided to be best friends with another girl (B) and won't let dd join in with them. A was off school yesterday and it broke my heart when dd said "because A was off I was allowed to play with B today". I ask her why she doesn't just go and play with another group and she says that they don't want to play with her, I guess because they've already started playing whilst she was following A around trying to join in. It really upsets me to think of her all on her own at playtime because that's what happened to me a lot. I don't know whether to try and strengthen a more casual friendship by inviting another girl over for tea, or have a chat to the teacher.

sad

PastSellByDate Tue 13-Nov-12 14:54:29

Hi sunnyshine (and any others concerned about DCs not playing).

Gosh lunch and recess/ playtime can be a minefield.

Solutions we've hit upon over the years:

1) Find something you can do on your own but be open to people joining in.
(Hopscotch, jumping rope, riding scooters, playing on bars, etc...)

2) Be open to including others. If you include them, they'll tend to include you.

3) Don't beg to play with people - it is understandable, but children being children it really does open you up to being bossed about or just excluded (so the others can feel that power over you). Ask to play, but if they say no, say o.k. and move on.

4) Draw. No teacher will object to you taking a pencil or pen and a piece of scratch paper and drawing during recess.

5) Read. DD2 found that one day a week her great pals all played football with the boys (apparently a day was set aside for this, because it took up so much space in the playground). DD1 doesn't like football much, she finds it way too rough for her liking. So she would read books during that recess. I was thrilled - because she was a slow reader and could do with the practice. The school asked if I was concerned and I said no, she's very fit and does a ton of sport/ dance outside school - so that's fine with me.

6) Does the school allow chalk on the play ground? Draw/ write your name/ etc... with chalk on the play ground.

7) point out equipment they could play on during recess. It never occurred to DDs that they could use the climbing frame or the wall to balance (children are allowed to walk along a low wall in the playground) - if nobody was playing with them. What we found was that she'd start on these and others would join in.

8) Nature watch. DD2 is into ladybirds. She rescues them from the playground and makes them little shelters. She also makes designs with leaves or flower petals that fall to the ground over in the quiet area. She's often in her own little world and is as happy to do this on her own as she is to have others join in. She started off all by herself but ended up with quite a big group of ladybird rescuers/ shelter builders by the end of September this year.

My advice is that if you're friendly and reasonably sociable (say hello, share a joke, talk about things and are supportive of other children) you will make friends. The difficulty is that it can take time and that mutliple form schools can switch things round breaking up friendship groups and unsettling things - but you can and will get through.

Outside of school - try and encourage other friendships or at least recognition that there are young people outside of school who also are friends. It helps to ensure that they don't base everything on that small little community. The reality is that in Y7 they'll drift off to all sorts of different places and start this process of making friends all over again. And just to prepare you - you may also have to help through Y7+ when a great pal from primary drops your DD as a friend, for whatever reason.

HTH

iseenodust Tue 13-Nov-12 15:02:10

Past what a brilliantly helpful post.

sunnyshine Tue 13-Nov-12 21:46:12

Past thanks some great ideas there .will keep in mind when I see school. Today was not a great day. Was too worried to ask to join in so stayed on fringes again.

ewaczarlie Tue 13-Nov-12 22:13:12

I've been reading these posts earnestly as I fear my ds will have this problem. He seems to have settled on a group of friends in nursery but I feel that he is more on the outside rather than in the group. He's a lovely little boy (of course) but seems to do better with adults. I'm starting to ensure I invite as many of the other kids over when I can to ensure that e starts to form friendships. I'm going at it through the mums and even if I feel that a particular child may not be ds' play friend I want to ensure that there is some reg contact after school so that he gets used to playing with them. This really worries me as I am quite social but dh isn't and I'm worried that my darling sensitive ds may not cope.
Let me know how things go with school talk as I'd be interested in how schools respond to this.
Good luck to everyone whose heart is breaking for their dcs

Fairenuff Wed 14-Nov-12 08:15:52

It would help enormously if your dd could speak up to the supervising adult because they will help her. If they don't know there's a problem, they will assume everything is well.

So I would advise the following. Firstly, it's important that you speak with her teacher so that she is aware. Ask her to let all the staff know.

Then practice with your dd how to ask for help. She should go to the adult and say 'I have no-one to play with' or 'so and so won't let me play with them'. Tell her that each time there is a problem, she should tell the adult, preferrably the same adult.

We do lots of work on inclusion during PSHE and reward children for being kind and thinking of others. We teach emotional literacy so that children can imagine what it might feel like to be in the other person's shoes.

I am sure that your school will do plenty of this too and will be more than willing to help your dd but they can't if they don't know it's a problem, so speak to the teacher as soon as you can.

sunnyshine Wed 14-Nov-12 09:54:58

Thanks again for all your replies. We had tears again this morning as didn't want to go in. Spoke briefly to teacher who said that she had noticed a few children were struggling and had talked about it in pshe but would again talk to the class and help individual children. An going to talk to head too. Will keep you posted.

sunnyshine Wed 14-Nov-12 18:47:03

Came out happier today. Teacher had arranged a lunch party to sit together and wait until all had finished before going out to play. Seemed to work, and were given skipping ropes and stuff to help all join in together. Will keep an eye in things but a good start smile

iseenodust Wed 14-Nov-12 21:07:51

Oh that's very promising.

colette Wed 14-Nov-12 21:16:52

sunnyshine smile
dd had a similar problem in p3 , I talked to the teacher and she set up a buddying system which helped.
she is now in s3 and has some really good friends .

sunnyshine Fri 16-Nov-12 09:57:13

Appt with head later today to discuss the lack of children who help if a child is on the friendship circle. Seems its a tool that doesn't work sad but hoping I can help get it working so no one feels like my dd did.

colette Fri 16-Nov-12 23:32:14

Hope it went well today

sunnyshine Wed 21-Nov-12 14:14:54

Head seemed to suggest it was each individual class who decide how they are going to use friendship stop. My suggestion was that clearly this isn't happening and maybe a school solution needed to be thought of. My dd teacher has now suggested a buddy system for their class and each week 2 children are the buddies and they have to keep an eye on the stop and go to see someone if there on it, seems to have been a better week for my dd so hoping she returns to her usual self soon. Am keeping an eye on her and the schools actions too.

colette Wed 21-Nov-12 20:12:29

The buddy system sounds good, glad it's a bit better for her. smile

DazR Wed 21-Nov-12 20:32:40

Looks like things might be improving sunnyshine - hope it continues for your daughter. I think it would be a good idea for your daughter to join an 'outside' school club such as brownies, girls' brigade or a kids club. She would make new friends and learn new games/skills which she could then share at school. These are usually quite structured and all children are included. It would give her a new interest and focus.

dikkertjedap Wed 21-Nov-12 20:40:45

Schools often put the hot school dinners together and packed lunches together. So if her best friend has say packed lunch (hot school dinner) you could consider to give your dd also packed lunch (hot school dinner) so they can (hopefully) sit together, plan what to do after lunch and then play together.

In other countries kids go home for lunch and often a friend comes over for lunch, much better IMO but just does not fit well with the UK system .

sunnyshine Sun 25-Nov-12 23:26:12

Only packed lunches here but classes are staggered do all finish at different times. Am looking into outside clubs but hard when working ft and having other children sad am looking into some things that suit all of us though! Thanks everyone for all your advicesmile

sunnyshine Wed 20-Feb-13 14:05:57

So thought I would give a quick update. My dd was paired up with a new girl recently which turned out by the teachers own admission to be a disaster. First day was fine, then girl and her friend ( already at school) turned in my dd who has been filling up the worry pot to the teacher with the things this girls been saying to her. hmm Was then mentioned again by teacher about how work is fab but she has lost her spark as worried about friendships, so still ongoing.

LivingInAPinkBauble Wed 20-Feb-13 15:25:02

Thinking off the top of my head here with my teacher hat on for some things I have done -
Ethos in class, I do lots in PSHE about inclusion, children are rewarded for including others outside, when choosing partner etc, encouraging children to think positively about others-ie writing nice things about each member of class on paper for wall display, lots of general inclusion activities, class working together for class reward etc etc.
Asking child to pick a buddy, if goes well I give housepoints etc to buddy and child.
Looking at lunchtimes, one school I worked in children were separated depending on whether they were packed lunch/school dinner, meant they were staggered slightly and impacted on playground so changed so all were together.
Another school had 'playground angels', year 6s who looked after children who weren't playing and found someone for them.
I think it does need to have a whole class, preferably school approach, so attitudes change and ethos of inclusion is embedded.
Not sure if any of this makes sense, happy to help further if I can in any way, think brain has seized up for half term!

lljkk Wed 20-Feb-13 16:29:45

DS brings a book to read.
It's what I used to to, too, come to think of it.
After much hard pushing by me the school organised some friendship games so he no longer thinks that everyone on the playground is necessarily hostile to him. But he still doesn't try to play with anyone.

Dozer Wed 20-Feb-13 22:59:14

Sorry things are still not resolved sunnyshine.

Are you content with the way school are handling?

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