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Reception daughter lack of friends

(34 Posts)
DevonLodger Mon 24-Mar-14 16:11:31

I have my daughter's parents meeting tomorrow and would be really grateful to know whether or not I would be unreasonable to bring this up with her class teacher.

Briefly, daughter started at medium sized country primary school in September. There are 28 children in her class. She actually went to a different pre-school than the one attached to the school but I preferred this school for her. She knew no one at the school at all when she started. In the first few weeks she had a few invitations to birthday parties; just three but nothing at all since October. She hasn't been invited to play with any children nor does she ask for other children to come to play with her (she gets the bus to and from school so I don't get an chance to see any parents or children before or after school). She says from time to time that no one likes her and that she plays on her own. She has a birthday coming up and one of the girls in her class has told her that she will be sick on the day of her party. I'm putting off organising it because I don't know who to invite.

She is PFB. So as not to drip feed, I was badly bullied at school and excluded by "friends" for many years leaving quite lasting confidence issues. My daughter is more like her dad. Quiet but confident in herself and seemingly not too worried about lack of friends. I'm sure its more me than her but if anyone has any insight into this and whether and how I should mention it to the teacher please do share.

DevonLodger Mon 24-Mar-14 18:00:31

Thank you all so much. You have made me feel so much better to hear your stories and experiences. Now you have pointed it out to me it is blindingly obvious that the opportunities for the children originate from the parents and I just don't know the other mums and dads at all. I did do a "family learning" workshop which was every Friday afternoon at the school with some of the other parents and their children but I didn't really make any contacts in that way. Part of it is my own lack of self confidence. I'm also an older mum as I think I've mentioned here before. I need to woman up and get those notes in her book bag and start arranging play dates for her. Maybe I'll also join the PTA!

LadyCybilCrawley Mon 24-Mar-14 17:58:35

Stranger - what I meant was for the adult to demonstrate behavior - we had to do this for our son because he didn't "get" in - that's why the role play book and practice was so good for him

Example :

Guest boy "hi how are you ladyson?"
Ladyson "umm hi"
Ladyson's dad "guest boy thanks for coming over to play - would you like a drink? Ladyson would you like to ask guest boy if he would like a drink?"

And later

Guest boy "have you got Legos ?"
Ladyson "yes"
Ladyson's dad "Legos are great - why don't we build something together "

Orangeanddemons Mon 24-Mar-14 17:49:55

My dd was like this in reception and Years 1 and 2. In year 2 she got invited to one party in a whole year. She said she often played on her own, and I was constantly up at school trying to get to the bottom of it.

Now she is in Year 3 it has all become clear. It was the parents who we're sorting out all the social stuff. As their parents knew each other out of school, the kids naturally played together in school. Now in Year 3 this seems to have broken down a bit and the children seem to play with who THEY want to. Dd has gone from almost Billy no mates to a mad social whirl since the start of the year.

Hth a bit

HolidayCriminal Mon 24-Mar-14 17:41:46

3 birthday invitations is the normal number ime, in reception. That's when we are at the school gates every day & DC went to the same preschool, and I can name most the children in same yr group & even match a lot of their parents.

I second (third? 19th?) the suggestion that you do a handful of pickups so that you can identify some likely candidates for playdate invites. This probably won't mean any invites back ime, btw, but they are handy for feeling a bit more in touch with her social experience.

Sovaysovay Mon 24-Mar-14 17:34:57

My son's the same - I don't even know if he's noticed there are other children in his class. He has no interest in socialising or friends at all. Evaluations are ongoing, but to be honest I'm not sure if all those kids with 'friends' just have parents who arrange a lot of playdates. They're only 4, and he doesn't seem to be the only one wandering around oblivious to the existence of the others.

Being at the school gate is no guarantee. I've been there twice a day, talked to lots of parents, all very smiley and pleasant and nice, and the buggers still openly discuss their plans for their kids' social lives over my head, or openly talk to me about the birthday party they're not inviting my kid too. It's nothing anyone's done wrong, they just seem unwilling to invite a child they're unfamiliar with. The friendship groups seem very much identical to those of the mothers, unaltered since nursery, rather than the children actively choosing new friendships.

StrangerintheNight Mon 24-Mar-14 17:29:40

Hi LadyCybil, sorry for stupid question, but can I ask what you mean by having social skills demonstrated to help kids model their behaviour? Do you mean the parents do this at the playdate or do you invite other children with better social skills?

My son's not really a joiner-in either, and I'd like to try and help him if possible, so have found this thread useful. A link to that book would be great as well.

KatnipEvergreen Mon 24-Mar-14 17:22:25

I agree with the comments that they do sometimes play with other children then report otherwise! Definitely having one or two children round for tea helps matters.

ShoeWhore Mon 24-Mar-14 17:20:46

I'd also say some classes at our rural school seem to be much more into big parties than others. And lots of families can only afford to do a massive all class party once. Ds1's class mainly had them in Reception, ds2's in Year 1. Also in ds2's (big) class all the boys he is friendly with either have autumn or spring birthdays so there is a big lull in between. Ds3's class is tiny and there have been very few which is a bit sad for him but secretly a bit of a relief for me

AngelinaCongleton Mon 24-Mar-14 17:18:51

Don't worry about the bus- it's a glorious thing - independence and perfect for you. Send in the notes and once you have mobile numbers you are off...

AwfulMaureen Mon 24-Mar-14 17:18:41

I don't think you should worry about the amount of DD is in year one and has had 3 since September...she's very popular and social...there just have not been many whole class parties and some kids haven't had ANY party at all...very normal. You will find there are more in Spring and summer in my experience.

Ask the teacher how she's doing socially and ask who she gets on well with so you know who to invite to her party if you're not doing a whole class one...some parents don't do any playdates in DDs school didn't begin really until year one.

NoodleOodle Mon 24-Mar-14 17:18:24

Agree with the consensus. Invite the whole class to her party. At the party, see who she interacts with. Grab their parents at pick up time and take their mobile numbers and start organising the play dates from there.

ShoeWhore Mon 24-Mar-14 17:18:00

You've already had loads of good advice and I won't repeat it but a couple of things I thought worth adding: certainly at our school the staff won't leave one child on their own (unless they desperately want to be!) - they are very good at gently encouraging games where everyone can join in. The other thing is I found that a brief moment alone where they were perhaps between games would really stick in my dcs' minds, even if a minute later they were right in the thick of it again.

AngelinaCongleton Mon 24-Mar-14 17:16:55

I always start the play date request, sending a note in with my child if I don't know the parent and invite them too. I wouldn't wait for her to be invited. I'd invite someone round every other week until you make a breakthrough. The good thing is at this age hardly anyone says no.

Hollygolightlyandcat Mon 24-Mar-14 17:12:30

I think that you need to be pro active on your daughters behalf. Arrange lots of playdates at your house (just tea and the park doesn't need to be anything fancy) for the children your daughter says she likes. Don't look for invites back (people are busy and you may be waiting a while) just concentrate on building friendships for your daughter.

You don't need to go to the school gate for this - all arrangements I make are via text. Put a note for the mum of the child/ children who you want to invite over with your name and number and ask them to text you as you want to invite their child over. I would only invite one child at a time over though.

It takes a while for children new to the school to break into established groups and playing outside school is one of the best ways of doing this.

As well as this try to find out if any of the other kids go to activities eg rainbows, dancing or gymnastics - doing activities together outside school is great for making friends.

Ronmione Mon 24-Mar-14 17:11:16

Sorry it's just seems so strange, my niece really struggles with friends, she's the same age. I think you must really get some play dates going. Does she mention other childrens names at all? Are there any extra curriculum clubs she can do?

One last questions, is she one of the youngest?

What are the teachers doing to support her,

TheBody Mon 24-Mar-14 16:58:44

ah op it can be hard. definatly try to get yourself to the school gates if you can. join the PTA? I know it's a pain but it's all about getting to know the other parents. in reception class it's the parents making the dates not the kids.

arrange a party for her birthday and chat to the teacher. you may be worrying about nothing.

I am a reception class TA and the bullshit the kids come out with like noone will play with me? I hate school etc when you have just seen them in the thick of a game with friends.

bless 'em. grin

DevonLodger Mon 24-Mar-14 16:58:26

Thanks for your comments. I will get on with sorting out her birthday party and will invite the whole class. Thanks for that suggestion.

Ronmione, yes she gets the bus on her own with the other children on her route. Its a school bus. I couldn't have imagined it myself his time last year. Because we are more than 3 miles away from her school she gets a bus pass. Its very common in rural areas for children to get a bus to school. When she started I took her and picked her up from school because I thought that she was just too young. But she really wanted to get the bus so I agreed. She enjoys the trip, it teaches her confidence and independence and its very convenient for me. The downside of course is that I miss out on the playground thing.

dobedobedo Mon 24-Mar-14 16:55:27

Do mention it to the teacher. I had the same issue with ds when we moved to a new area and a new school. I had a couple of meetings with the teacher about it as IMO friends are crucial to children and it's horrible when no one will play with them.
The school should have a buddy system or some tricks and strategies to help kids who aren't fitting in.

LadyCybilCrawley Mon 24-Mar-14 16:53:21

ok, I would definitely talk to the teacher

friendships are hard at this age - they are learning the skills to navigate the social setting and there is a lot of hurt along the way as they learn

having said that, I don't like the comment from her that "no one likes her" and that she plays on her own - that would definitely peak my concern here - And the comment about "going to be sick" (if that was indeed what was said because things can be misconstrued) is mean spirited

after talking to the teacher and getting more information, i'd be taking the bull by the horns and arranging playdates - its mostly the parents at this age who do this - i'd be reaching out to every girl's mother in the class and setting them up one per weekend for as long as it takes

i'd ALSO be monitoring the playdates gently and unobtrusively to ensure "success" - whether it be cooking biscuits together and decorating, or painting, or building a fort outside, or whatever it is

some children need social skills within the playdate setting demonstrated so they can model their own behavior on them - not every kid just "gets on with it" and finds it easy

good luck with this - I've been through this with my son, so i'm speaking a little from experience

ps. there are some great books on playing which kids can read or have read to them - i'll try to find a link for you - it helped our son enormously (one book used role playing between our son and my husband and that was incredibly helpful for our son)

Ronmione Mon 24-Mar-14 16:51:18

Your 5 year old gets the bus on her own?

mymiraclebubba Mon 24-Mar-14 16:50:35

I agree that talking to the teacher is a good idea as is meeting parents and inviting their kids over. The others probably all know each other from pre school so it may be difficult for them to understand to include your dd esp if she is quiet.

I would invite the whole class toner birthday as it will give you a chance to meet other parents and arrange additional play dates

justmyview Mon 24-Mar-14 16:48:21

I definitely think that being at school gate sometimes would help. If you invite children to your house then sooner or later I'm sure she'll be invited back

DevonLodger Mon 24-Mar-14 16:39:02

Bunbaker - I agree that it doesn't help that I am never at the school. I shall try and pick her up a few afternoons a week.

loveandsmiles Mon 24-Mar-14 16:37:20

My DD2 is in P2 (Scotland) and has never been invited to a friend's house to play and never asks for a friend to play at our house. She does get invited to parties and at her recent party we invited the class and everyone came. She just doesn't have a special friend like my other children seem to have.

It is a good idea to speak to her teacher who can hopefully put your mind at rest. I have spoken to my DD2 teacher in the past who said she is confident and sociable, she mixes with everyone but is also happy to do her own thing.

I guess all children are different but as long as she is happy there is not a problem smile

DevonLodger Mon 24-Mar-14 16:35:55

Thank you all for your comments. She gets the bus from a stop at the end of our road with a few other children mainly in different years. There are a couple in her year but they both have older siblings who they sit with so she always sits on her own.

Whilst the class is large its just one class per year group. Its a really nice school in a rural area of the south west. The children are all lovely as far as I can see (I volunteered for a school trip) and so is her teacher. Thanks for your experiences of party invitations. I am becoming a bit obsessed with scouring her school bag when she comes home in the desperate hope she will have an invitation.

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