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"nobody plays with me"

(12 Posts)
NicknameTaken Fri 12-Oct-12 11:23:03

Said by DD, nearly 5. Just started school, but she used to say the same thing about nursery.

Is it common? Is there any way I can help her? I never quite mastered the art of playground popularity myself, and I don't want my social anxieties to rub off on her.

There's one girl in her class that we see a lot outside school, and they play together quite happily then. It just doesn't seem to translate to playing together at school.

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 12-Oct-12 11:29:34

Oh, poor thing. Have you spoken to DD's teacher about it? It might be that "no one" translates as "the couple of really popular kids that I really want to play with", rather than literally "no one". Or if she is being left out of games, the teacher might be able to help by gently asking others to include her in their games.

Does she ask to join in and get rebuffed, or not ask because she is too shy?

SavoyCabbage Fri 12-Oct-12 11:30:52

My five year old has been known to say this when she means nobody will play what she wants to play.

My other dd (8) does find it hard in the playground. She has a friend but when she can't find him or he is away she finds it hard. I got her a long skipping rope and taught her some skipping games because I didn't know what else to do.

Pancakeflipper Fri 12-Oct-12 11:40:26

I also would speak to the teacher and the teaching assistant ( the teaching assistants often have a good grasp of playtime friendships).

It might just be other kids are not wanting to do as she says. Or perhaps not yet got the confidence to join in with the children they get on with. At that age it's often a case of not being asked but just joining in.

Often schools have things set up to help any child struggling with friendships - buddy systems, friendship bench etc. Ask to the teacher about this if they think child is being side-lined

NicknameTaken Fri 12-Oct-12 11:41:25

Those are good points. I really hope that "nobody" is an exaggeration. She has a major crush on one boy, and is devastated when he won't play with her, so I've been telling her that it's good to have friends who are girls and boys.

She did tell me that yesterday she asked everybody and nobody would let her join in their game. I'll try to have a talk to the teacher and see if I can get a clearer sense of what's happening.

NicknameTaken Fri 12-Oct-12 11:43:39

Pancake, those sound like really good strategies. DD is an only child who spends a lot of time with grown-ups, and I just worry in case she doesn't know all the unwritten rules of the playground.

scentednappyhag Fri 12-Oct-12 11:52:22

My mum likes to tell people the story of when I was about five and came home every night for a week saying that I had no friends to play with.
She hid behind a bush to spy on me (nicely!) one lunchtime, and found me running around with a big group of friends having a whale of a time grin
Have a chat with her teacher to see if he/she has notice anything, but try not to worry too much just in case smile

NicknameTaken Fri 12-Oct-12 12:06:50

Aw, thanks! I really hope this is happening! Lunchtime spying is a bit more challenging these days, though...

marbleslost Fri 12-Oct-12 14:32:59

I think they all come home and say this from time to time. I'd check with the teacher about whether it's actually true to start with.

If it is, perhaps try giving her some tips. There's a book with a few pointers which was an eye opener to me called "the unwritten rules of friendship". It gives tips on how to blend in a game already being played, how to ask someone to play. Apparently the worst thing you can do is say "can I play with you" because the natural reaction is to say no. From what I gathered it's better to ask "do you want to play e.g. cats" and to pick something the other person might like. If wanting to join in a game - don't ask "can I play with you" - say, that looks fun, you could do this, this and this - sort of blend in and enhance the game, rather than stopping it by asking if you can play.

The other thing that's useful is to help build relationships for her. That might be by enrolling her in an activity out of school, where one or two from her class go. Or being proactive in finding somebody she might get on with (ask the teacher if unsure) and inviting them round to play.

Mine is in year 2 now but the majority of her close friends are where they've been in the same gymnastic club, swimming lesson or I've known the parents and we socialise. One friend - she was having trouble making friends and her mum was proactive about inviting people round - now a great friend of my dd.

It is really upsetting when they come home saying this. But a lot of the time (as I found out with my dd) it's not exactly true. Worth finding out what the story is.

NicknameTaken Fri 12-Oct-12 14:37:42

That sounds like a great book - thanks for the advice!

Polygon Fri 12-Oct-12 17:28:56

My dd had something similar. I did spy and she really truly had no one to play with. It was heartbreaking to watch. We increased the number of playdates with lots of different children. This was the thing that made the biggest impact. I talked to the teacher and she tried designating a child from her class to play with dd at playtime but that didn´t work. In the end, she gave dd a "Buddy" - one of the older children. That worked really well. The older child enjoyed looking after the little one at playtime and my dd really enjoyed it. It got her through a difficult patch and gradually the friendships with her own age group did emerge. Now, one year later, it´s no problem. But it was really painful for a long time.

NicknameTaken Mon 15-Oct-12 10:19:07

Polygon, glad it was all sorted in the end.

DD came home and Friday and said she played with child x outside in the playground and child y inside, which was a relief. And we were invited to a party on Sat morning and she seemed okay. A bit inclined to do her own thing (like me!) but some time playing with others. I'll keep an eye on it and I really appreciate the strategies - thank you all!

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