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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 Teacher says that dd seems to have become very withdrawn. 2 dinner ladies have commented to her, that dd was sat all alone on bench at dinner and playtime.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.

orangeandlemons Sun 10-Mar-13 13:05:36

She is bossy and likes to do things her way, which is I suspect at the bottom of it, but she also really kind and caring too sad

MrsMushroom Sun 10-Mar-13 13:19:14

Have you spoken to her about being bossy? Role play can you play with her at home? I suggest that you try to play a lot of turn taking games and every time she's patient and non bossy, flatter her and use it as an example.

lottieandmia Sun 10-Mar-13 13:41:38

Sometimes bossy children are misunderstood and left out which is a shame but it can be a huge disadvantage - my dd often talked of one girl who was left out because she was bossy. I have a younger bossy child too and it is just in some children's nature I think. I agree that the best thing is to explain to her how bossiness can some across and help her to learn ways to tone it down without expecting her to change her personality.

Polygon Sun 10-Mar-13 14:40:49

We had this when dd was 6 last year. In the end it helped to have plenty of playdates. I had not been having many and it turned out all the other kids were playing together an awful lot. In dd´s class, having a playdate is like being engaged - if you have a playdate that evening, you only play with the child who you are having the playdate with. I didn´t realise this but it ended up with dd being left out a lot because she had fewer playdates. Things got better when I arranged more (all at our house and not necessarily reciprocated - partly because dd was too shy to go back to their house).
I also kept talking to the teachers about it. I think that helped too - in the end the teacher gave dd a playtime "buddy" who was in Y5. That really helped her. Her buddy is wonderful - and she seemed to like the role of caring for a younger child. What may also have helped is that dd was quite "cool" for her classmates as she got to hang out with the big girls at playtime.

Lousmart Wed 13-Mar-13 12:04:50

Hi, I'm reading this thread with interest as my dd (just 6 and in year 1) is very similar. There is some brilliant advice here. Thanks.

Also, regarding the Brownies. As a brownie leader with a full pack and waiting list I am flattered to read the good things that are being said about brownies improving confidence. It's my biggest aim as a snowy owl.

There is a new part on the girl guiding website called 'join us' it allows parents to enter contact info and will come up with the closest packs for you, and beyond if you chose. The leader then receives a text or email prompting them to contact the enquirer. It really works! I'll see if I can post a link.

And thanks for this thread ladies, it's really helping me.

MrsMushroom Wed 13-Mar-13 12:31:30

Thanks for the tip Lousmart, I LOVE our Brownies, the leader is a young woman but so dedicated and the atmosphere in there is SO supportive.

Fridayalready Fri 22-Mar-13 14:43:04

I've just found this thread after searching to find some tips / ideas on exactly this issue. I have a gorgeous dd who is bright & clever at home, but just can't seem to cope with playtimes or any sort of unstructured time with her peers (parties etc). Last week was a real low point when she hadn't played with anyone all week at playtime. When another child asks her to play, she's fine & will go off & play (mostly, not always) but she always waits to be asked & then if she isn't, she just stands by herself. Last weekend we made a sticker/reward chart to encourage her to smile and say hello or to ask someone to play a game - this worked really well yesterday - fingers crossed it does again today. Btw, we started a drama club on Saturdays - seems to be quite good, but still doesn't solve the problem of how she copes alone in the playground. This isn't easy, is it?

Timetoask Fri 22-Mar-13 14:57:32

Fridayalready: something I have started doing is arriving 15 minutes early to school every morning. There are always a few children playing. The idea is that with my support ds can start feeling more confident when seeing other children running around and joining them. The first couple of days he stood next to me (I did not force him to go off as I think that is counterproductive), towards the end of the week he was running off joining in, so it is worth trying.

NellyTheElephant Sun 24-Mar-13 12:33:32

It is uncanny how much your DD sounds exactly like mine. My DD had also always seemed fairly outgoing and sociable, but in year 1 she had real trouble fitting in. She had moved to a new school (we had moved house, but these problems had been evident in her reception class too before we moved) and initially seemed to settle v well - she was new and the novelty and the other girls and mothers worked hard to include her and invite on play dates etc but it all seemed to deteriorate and soon she seemed to be always left out. Not helped by fact she is also quite bossy and misinterpreted things, e.g. If she wanted to play one game and the others wanted to play a different game she interpreted that as the others not wanting to play with her whereas in fact they would have been very happy for her to play - just the game that they all wanted rather than the one she wanted. I found it all heart breaking to see her so sad and lonely. Her teacher was very helpful. Worked on ensuring that she was in a group before they went out into the playground (to avoid the lonely wandering around looking for someone). I talked to a few of the other mothers which was v helpful as once you start being open you will often find that they will open up about issues their children have too and then everyone becomes more helpful and sensitive to issues and encourages their children. We did regular playdates, which always went well on a one to one basis but didn't seem to change the school dynamic.

Really though none of these things mad a huge difference, what changed was her. I think in many ways she was socially underdeveloped. She found the forced expectation to 'play' hard. She actually wasn't very good at group playing(although fine on one to one basis), and didn't much enjoy it. I felt fairly despairing as she went into yr 3 with no real improvement, but then everything seemed to change. Yr 3 was a much more structured environment, which suited her. She was permitted to opt out of playing and go to the library at break times. That worried me hugely too as I thought that her isolation would become entrenched, but her teachers assured me that they monitored it closely and would intervene if necessary. In fact the opposite occurred. The break from having to try and join in and the sense that she had a haven to escape to seemed to relax her, and before I knew it other girls started joining her in the library and then it would progress to playing all together but she could retreat if it was all too much. She now has a lovely group of friends and is much more settled.

So what is my advice... Possibly she is socially behind the curve and needs time and space to develop and catch up. Keep up with one on one play dates, even if they dont appear to be helping at school, it does make a difference i think as it gives some connection to her peers. Try not to pressure her (innocuous questions such as 'who did you play with today' used to send my DD into a tail spin). See the form teacher regularly and ensure she is on board and encouraging - this really helps. Talk to other mothers about it if you can.

marioncole Tue 26-Mar-13 16:28:40

My heart's aching about DS (5, in year 1) and this at the moment.

He seems to be more comfortable in a one-to-one friend situation and doesn't seem to join in with the big group of boys who play football at break time. Which is fine, until his one friend decides he wants to play football instead. So now DS has nobody to play with.

The boys seem to be defined by their interest in football. They all go to football club together in the holidays, at the weekends etc (it's only a small town). DS has zero interest in football, so he missed that extra-curricular interaction.

Interesting reading all the comments on this thread. We have a big waiting list for Beavers here, but I'm about to volunteer as a leader so that DS will jump the waiting list. I really think it's something that he will enjoy. I also don't do many play dates, partly because I work and DS goes to after-school club. I do work for myself though, so I could easily arrange playdates if I get myself organised. Must do more.

Tough isn't it.

lisylisylou Wed 27-Mar-13 11:15:49

Oh god it sounds like my ds all over again. My ds is the youngest in his year and I went through hell and back with him. They do settle please believe me. It sounds like your dd is trying to work out where she settles into school and this type of situation happened at year 1 for my ds.

The one thing I have found is lots of after school stuff and if that stereotypes me so be it. The most beneficial thing I have found taking him to acting/musical theatre. He also goes to jujitsu to learn how to defend himself and my dd goes to the same acting/musical theatre and goes to dance classes. I always remember my mum saying after I was telling her about how my ds hadn't been interacting at school with friends and she said "he needs more confidence". Even if your ds does have oodles of confidence the really good thing from after school activities like this is that they know they have friends elsewhere. They have alot of friends everywhere now and they still want to take up the after school football club now!!

Horribly my ds had been tied up to wooden fencing by other kids in the middle of the playground when he was in year 1. I remember crying through the night and then getting up at 3am to write a nasty letter to the school. The whole thing was awful but time heals and now I credit the musical theatre and jujitsu to getting him over the whole thing. He is so confident now and has plenty of friends.

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