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Only child having problems socialising in Year 3

(14 Posts)
DiaryofaSleepDeprivedMum Fri 09-Nov-12 09:59:21

Any other parents of only children struggling with Year 3? All of a sudden, established friendships seem to be breaking up and my son is now very unsettled every morning before school. He seems very anxious about all sorts of random things (obsessing over every little ache and pain - stomach ache is a frequent complaint).

The division in year 3 is more evident. There are the children who still seem very childish and others with older siblings, who are relatively street wise and deemed "cool" and have a smart answer for everything. This I think is where my son struggles. Not sure how to spark up a conversation or defend himself verbally in a way that works with other children. He comes across as quite grown up, spending most of his time with adults.

He is also not very good at sleeping at night - he has always struggled to switch off at night. I've tried everything, to no avail. I know some children need less sleep than others, but now it seems to be affecting his frame of mind (although school reports are glowing). He is by turns, grumpy or anxious. I'm sure he would cope better socially if he had more sleep.

So, does anyone have any tips/shared experiences?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 09-Nov-12 11:19:29

I think you need to stop attaching your son's difficulties - which clearly do need addressing - to his only child status. My child (also an only) has never had social difficulties at school, and many onlies don't. Likewise, many children with siblings do.

You also seem (if I may say so) to be rather muddled in your thinking. You suggest that your son would be more socially adept and better at witty/smart comebacks if he had older siblings but then you say that spending do much time with adults has made him verbally fluent.

What does he do out of school? Would joining something like Cubs or a sports team where he might be mixing with slightly older bots as well as those of his own age help him?

Can he tell you why he's becoming anxious about school? Has he been bullied? Is he finding the transition from KS1 to KS2 difficult? Dies he not like his teacher?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 09-Nov-12 11:24:16

Oops. You said grown-up rather than verbally fluent, but I think my point still holds. I imagine that part of his grown-upness is a more adult style of speech.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Fri 09-Nov-12 11:25:01

And please excuse typos!

iseenodust Fri 09-Nov-12 11:28:05

Are you inviting the good friends round to play after school?
I am a firm believer is more than one group of friends so I would also be supporting him in at least one activity that is not school related such as cubs/ sport / drama where there is a strong common interest.

DiaryofaSleepDeprivedMum Fri 09-Nov-12 11:50:30

Yes, ComeIntoTheGardenMaud, you're probably right about placing too much emphasis on his only child status. Both my husband and I are only children and whilst my husband recalls being shy at primary school, I didn't have any friendship issues. My son likes his teacher, although he seems to think that if he can't grasp something straight away, he's struggling. We've made it clear to him that if he is finding something tricky to begin with, that means he is learning.

iseenodust, he goes swimming and does attend an after school karate club (although he's rather not go). I also do invite friends round to the house. However, it is these friendships that now seem to be changing. Perhaps he just needs time to adjust and make new friends. I think this is one of the areas he needs to work on - making the first move. Don't think he's being bullied. He has mentioned that certain friends have excluded him because he doesn't have an X-box! Petty, but perhaps typical playground mentality.

Also, I think the main issue at present is that when he is tired, he can be grumpy and lack concentration, which obviously will also impact on friendships. His teacher says that he is a quieter pupil, but that she sees no issues and his work is above average. She didn't seem aware of any friendship problems, but then I don't think they take that much of an interest in what happens outside of the classroom.

I have a tired child who is not coping well. I myself know that as a child, if I was tired, every little issue seemed momentous. Also it's hard to get to the truth of the matter, because I'm under no illusion that I am getting one side of the story. All in all, just very frustrating! Thanks for your input though.

iseenodust Fri 09-Nov-12 12:09:26

It's so annoying when you think they're keeping something back that you could possibly help with.
Last term was very long and maybe the transition to yr3 has been a bit bumpy. Certainly our lot no longer got treats like golden time on a Friday afternoon. DS found the greater expectation of writing more than a couple of lines hard !

Also it seems to be the time boy/girl friendships become less cool. Does your DS join in lunchtime kick abouts?

On the sleep thing maybe he is mentally tired but not physically exhausted? A very long walk or bike ride at the weekend?

DiaryofaSleepDeprivedMum Fri 09-Nov-12 13:37:02

Sadly, he doesn't like football, which automatically puts him in the minority! Yes, I think you're right on the exercise front, although I think we make him do more than most. We took him for a 40 minute walk last night, to no avail, but I take your point about physical tiredness. Thanks.

Blu Fri 09-Nov-12 13:46:04

Unfortunately at this age friendsgips can be very 'common interest' based, and it may be that he is not actually being excluded because he has no x-box, but that they are basing their play and chat around x-box games and he simply isn't able to engage. This sort of thing happened a lot in DS's group - friendships changed according to who wanted to play Dr Who non-stop, etc.

What IS he interested in?

Keep inviting friends he likes seeing - one at a time. If you invite 2 others they might revert to X-Box talk amongst themselves.

hazeybabes Fri 09-Nov-12 13:56:05

Sounds like his mind's ticking over at night and this, together with his tiredness, is making it hard for him to adjust to new friendship dynamics. Perhaps if you let him read in bed before he goes to sleep then his mind might be filled with other thoughts. However, I would ask your child's teacher to find out from the dinner supervisors how he seems and whether he is playing on his own in the playground. It may just help to put your mind at rest or it may highlight an issue which the teacher has not noticed in the classroom.

iseenodust Fri 09-Nov-12 14:05:56

Agree with Blu. Does your DS have any of the games gizmos eg DS, Wii or Play Station? It may be that having the game of the moment for Xmas on whatever platform just so he knows the character names/strange lands etc would help. Skylanders Giants is the thing for DS's year. I parked my horror at the cost/crap that is Moshi Monsters because it was clear it was the playground fad of yr3.

DiaryofaSleepDeprivedMum Fri 09-Nov-12 19:28:47

Blu, he is interested in lots of things - skateboarding, books to name a couple, but I think you're right about him not being able to properly engage.

Iseenodust, We do have a Wii. I have resisted buying an X-box up to now, but we have decided to buy him one for Christmas as I think it seems to be so common amongst his friends and many of the playground games seem to be based upon X-box games.

Incidentally, he did seem to come out of school in a good frame of mind today and had played with others. However, we will see what Monday brings! If there's no improvement, I think I will do as you suggest Hazeybabes and speak directly to his teacher. By the way, we do allow him to read in bed. Unfortunately, rather than relaxing him, it seems to stimulate his mind even more! Still better that than watching TV I suppose.

Thanks all for your help and advice. Have a good weekend and roll on Christmas!

QueenofLouisiana Fri 09-Nov-12 22:22:11

Have you thought about Cubs/Beavers? That would allow him to be interested in lots of things as they cover a balanced programme, rather than a focus on a sport. It also promotes working together, organising yourself etc- all good skills, not just for only children. My DS (a yr 3 only) has made better friends at Beavers than I ever dreamed he might.

DiaryofaSleepDeprivedMum Sat 10-Nov-12 09:03:21

Thanks QeeenofLouisiana, will have a think about that too. Our local group was not that impressive, but I've heard reports of a good group in a neighbouring town.

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