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3.5 year old suddenly doesn't want to play with other kids

(15 Posts)
GlummyMummy Wed 01-Nov-17 19:45:25

I'm very concerned about my nearly 3.5 year old. Up until starting nursery recently she was hugely sociable, to the point of being over-friendly with strangers. Now she's like a different child, shy and seems to have lost the ability to play with other kids. Whenever we go into nursery she just acts very embarrassed and usually shouts or says something silly. Her behaviour since starting nursery has also been terrible - lots of shouting, tantrums and throwing things if she doesn't get her way. At toddler groups she stands out like a sore thumb as she shouts in other kids faces and throws toys and food if she doesn't get her way. If we have kids for playdates it's always a disaster as she just grumps about, winges for food constantly and is on edge when they try to play with her toys.

How can I stop her being so stressed and embarrassed around people and encourage her to play with other kids? Worried things will only get worse as she gets older....dreading school and teenage years!

GlummyMummy Thu 02-Nov-17 20:57:32


Rebeccaslicker Thu 02-Nov-17 21:51:25

I don't have much useful advice but didn't want to read and run - it sounds as if she is struggling to adjust a bit. Could you ask the teachers for some advice?

Rebeccaslicker Thu 02-Nov-17 21:51:43

Also could you arrange some play dates maybe?

GlummyMummy Sat 04-Nov-17 19:31:58

Thanks Rebecca! I'm sure I should be doing more play dates but the last one was a bit of a disaster so I'm reluctant to be honest! She just seems very uncomfortable in other kids company at the moment. 😞

GlummyMummy Sun 12-Nov-17 19:21:42

Anyone else had a very sociable child who suddenly started becoming anxious around other kids? Not sure whether I should be continuing to take her to things or whether to lie low from kids groups for a while until her confidence hopefully builds again.

Mamabear4180 Mon 13-Nov-17 23:21:39

Something went wrong at that nursery! Have you asked her teachers?

GlummyMummy Tue 14-Nov-17 19:18:36

thanks for your reply Mamabear. Yes, I have asked for their help as her behaviour at home has become very challenging, and she is getting into trouble a lot at nursery too. They seem to say that she's just taking longer to settle into nursery and coping without family being there. Say she tends to want to be by herself or with the teachers on a one-to-one, which kind of defeats the purpose of going really! She hasn't made any friends in the months she's been there which is sad.

Mamabear4180 Tue 14-Nov-17 19:42:04

Something's up. It's odd that she used to be sociable. Something must have put her off? Teasing possibly? What is the nursery like? Are they strict? Does she understand the rules there etc or do you think she feels awkward? What sort of trouble does she get into?

I'd be tempted to change nurseries. My eldest went to a pre school age 2.6 and she started having accidents (wetting herself) and getting upset going in. I changed her to another one after 2 weeks and she was much happier and not a single accident! It was just an atmosphere there, it didn't work for her. Children are so individual, perhaps this doesn't suit her?

Mamabear4180 Tue 14-Nov-17 19:43:02

Ooh she's been there months and not settled in? That's no good!

GlummyMummy Tue 14-Nov-17 19:53:47

Just since August. It's a very small class and there are a LOT of rules. Most of her problems stem from being embarrassed in front of the other kids and parents I think. She is quite hyper and the other kids are very calm which doesn't help!!

She's hit and pushed the other kids (usually not out of aggression, but more just playful silliness) so perhaps why they aren't that keen on her to be honest!

I think they expect quite a lot from them, given they're only three!

Mamabear4180 Tue 14-Nov-17 20:00:47

Bless her. I've got a lively one too although she's only 16 months at the moment. I can't imagine her sitting still in a class grin

She might like a montessori environment, lots of free time, not many rules, self directed etc. She sounds busy so it might feel a bit of a culture shock at nursery suddenly being told what to do and how to behave around others etc. She's probably been trying to make friends but hasn't got a grip of it all yet.

The nursery might not be very understanding of her little personality so she's a bit of a square peg in a round hole maybe.

GlummyMummy Tue 14-Nov-17 20:55:19

I've wondered about a Montessori nursery so that's interesting you suggest that. Although I think it's the free play part she struggles with most, as she's not really into the games that other kids like, and I always think she prefers circle time when she knows how she should behave and it's more structured.

Yes, it's a shame as she has tried to make friends and used to be so sociable. Think she's given up now and just prefers to chat to adults. It's embarrassing when she shouts at other kids though, particularly when they are just minding their own business! 😞

Haha, you may have all this to come then! 16 months is the best age though!

Mamabear4180 Wed 15-Nov-17 14:33:36

They call freeplay 'work' at montessori and have lots of real life materials which she might like if she's not into so much of the imaginary play side. Although it's self directed they will work with her too and she'd have a learning journal. My ASD DD went for a few weeks when she was 2.5 and I was so impressed with the whole ethos. She couldn't talk at the time and I was worried she'd get in trouble for not listening or understanding things. They said 'we don't tell the children off here, it's all positive' as well as many other reassuring things. Worth a look maybe? They are also mixed ages in a 'proper' montessori class so hers was ages 2-6. Have a think anyway.

Hope things get better. Best of luck.

GlummyMummy Wed 15-Nov-17 20:24:57

She would like being in with mixed ages I think as seems to prefer older kids to those her own age. And yes, positive praise is what she needs and she's not really getting much of that just now. It's hard to know whether she would do better at another nursery or if this is just what her personality is like now. Thanks for your advice. How are things for your daughter now?

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