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When would a child not mixing with their peers start to ring alarm bells for teachers?

(16 Posts)
chipmunkswhereareyou Wed 22-Oct-08 09:48:28

Ds is 3.5 and I've been told by his new nursery that he isn't mixing with the children. He basically takes up a lot of adult time which I've been told isn't a problem at the moment as they have a couple of extra student helpers but they need to work on it (the implication being it will be a problem later on).

He claims he does talk to the other children and names a few but based on what the teacher says it seems that he doesn't really.

He is a seemingly bright little chap, an only child and quite sensitive. He is very affectionate with me and talkative with adults he knows and the staff at nursery.

I know that quite a few 3 year old boys aren't that into talking to their peers, especially only children. I've asked him before why he didn't talk to x or y, in specific situations and he says because they don't answer. I think he doesn't really know what to say to them too, although I've suggested some things and tried role playing.

At what stage will the teachers start to say that if there's no increase in his interaction, there might be a problem?

chipmunkswhereareyou Wed 22-Oct-08 10:49:21


compo Wed 22-Oct-08 10:54:31

they don't mingle at that age
my ds only started talking aout other kids when he was nearer 4
do you work? does he have to go?
the nursery sounds a bit crap if it's making an issue of it tbh

chipmunkswhereareyou Wed 22-Oct-08 10:59:10

I want him to go as it is good for him to have time around other kids. I do work but it's only a preschool type thing ie. 2.5 hrs a day term time, and he goes to his 'old' nursery two pms too.

To be fair, I think she said these things because I asked if he was talking to the other kids much. But if they did start making a big issue out of it, I'd definitely take him out as I am very confident it's just to do with his personality and not a symptom of a bigger issue.
Nor would I want to feel he was too much of a drain on adult time for them to cope with!

duchesse Wed 22-Oct-08 10:59:40

The day my son's reception teacher told me there had to be something wrong with my just 4 yr old son because he didn't want to play football with the other boys at breaktime, but preferred to sit indoors with his anatomy atlas, was the time I started looking around for a different school. Talk about embracing differences! Your son sounds delightful. As an only child, he is probably very used to interacting with adults, and probably rather ahead of his peers in his conversation. And what on earth can be wrong with that? In time, he will begin to talk to other children. His school is being barmy IMO.

mummyplonk Wed 22-Oct-08 11:07:26

Chipmunks, my DS is 3.5 too and I went in to watch him at pre-school last week. I was so shocked, he is a chatterbox/nutcase at home, he was the shyest in the class, didnt speak to any children only whispered to the adults when they spoke to him, wouldnt join in singing or the games. I was gobsmacked. Spoke to the teachers and they said, it is normal behaviour at his age still to play on his own, girls tend to be better at making friends. Does your DS have a close friend that he has grown up with that he is developing a good relationship with? If so hopefully you can take a lot from that to know that he can make more friends when he is ready to.

AbbeyA Wed 22-Oct-08 11:12:24

It is very normal behaviour at that age,especially with boys. They play along side each other. I certainly wouldn't be worried for at least another year. Have you got any friends with DCs the same age that you can see on a regular basis?

MrsMattie Wed 22-Oct-08 11:15:05

I wouldn't worry at all. Even at reception age, children (especially boys) often prefer playing alone or alongside rather than 'with' other children. Even at reception age it is rare for children to form close friendships. I think Year 1 (aged 5/6 yrs old) is usually the year when friendships start to form and children star to really enjoy playing together.

moosemama Wed 22-Oct-08 11:22:19

Very normal behaviour. At his age both my little boys preferred to play on their own or spend time with adults.

They are now 4.5 and 6.5 and both mix well, although prefer to keep to a dicrete group of a few friends each rather than just play with whoever is available. Interestingly, my youngest prefers to play with the older kids in the playground, so still doesn't mix as much with the children from his own year. Maybe thats from having an older brother though.

chipmunkswhereareyou Wed 22-Oct-08 15:06:52

Phew - sounds like nothing to worry about if it's so widespread for boys to be like this.

He does talk about the other children in a positive way so at least likes the idea of them.

It is possible they weren't really saying it was a really big issue and were just commenting on it and I was being over-sensitive. I didn't really like the insinuation that he was taking up a lot of teacher time though.

Anyway his slightly older cousin was just round and they did talk to each other a bit - mainly when I facilitated it but better than nothing.

Good idea to try and build a closer relationship with a small number of children - we haven't really had chance to do this so well recently as quite a few of his friends have clashing nursery times etc so tricky to do playdates really regularly with the same people.
I will try a bit harder though to do this.

AbbeyA Wed 22-Oct-08 17:18:00

My DS1 was an only DC for 8 yrs and he had very advanced conversation and loved chatting to adults.
Boys are very different from girls anyway. Girls talk to other children, boys are more into the activity.
At 13 my ds did a summer play scheme and did all the activities with a boy that he met there, and they got on well. At the end of the week I found out to my shock that he didn't know the new friend's name! He said it wasn't important! I am sure a girl would have know everything there was to know in a week.
I think trying to get some friends the same age to play is a good idea but I wouldn't worry.
I live in an all male house and they all think that women are nosy and 'gossip' too much!!

kettlechip Wed 22-Oct-08 20:22:07

if they have no other concerns regarding his behaviour, and he's interacting well with you and others, I wouldn't worry. I think organising play dates for him is a really good idea though.

chipmunkswhereareyou Wed 22-Oct-08 23:01:27

He interacts very well with us and other adults plus is OK with older kids. He's also very affectionate and cuddly these days grin which is just lovely so there's no overall problem imho as his mum!

I honestly think he just doesn't know what to say to other children his age which is sad really.

He is a bit over-sensitive sometimes but I think he's quite happy at the nursery doing his own thing, pottering and talking to the staff.

He isn't a boisterous type and just hangs out. I hope the teachers don't mind him taking up a lot of time!

SoMuchToBats Wed 22-Oct-08 23:09:20

He sounds really like my ds (now 7). I think one of the problems for him at that age was that he hadn't found other children he really clicked with. Although he got on with the adults fine.

Even in reception, he started off making friends with the dinner ladies before he made any friends his age. Now he does have a small group of good friends his own age, and seems quite happy.

I do think this is more common with boys, and especially with only children (as my ds is) who are more used to adult company (although I have always taken ds to activities where he will meet other children, even from an early age).

The most important thing is that your ds is happy, whether he spends his time with the other children or with the adults.

chipmunkswhereareyou Wed 22-Oct-08 23:14:22

"The most important thing is that your ds is happy, whether he spends his time with the other children or with the adults."

You are so right and I need to keep remembering that - as a sociable female who finds other people's company important I need to make sure I don't project what I think he needs onto him!

chipmunkswhereareyou Thu 23-Oct-08 11:02:15

P.s. the teacher has also commented on how ds seems 'very routine led' and 'needs everything just so'. He is a bit like this but not in a problematic way from my experience.

And has said nothing positive.....grrrr.

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