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Lonely playtimes for non-footie mad DS

(28 Posts)
MerylStrop Tue 17-May-11 10:52:14

I am being PFB, I know, but I am not sure what I can do to help DS.

He made a great start at school and is in Year 1. Bright, enthusiastic, lots of friends.

BUT he's just not into football. It seems that virtually ALL the boys and all his friends play footie ALL the playtimes and take it pretty seriously for 6 year olds. DS likes to play occasionally, is aware he's not that fantastic at it, but not that bothered, but is finding there's no-one to play with. All his friends want to play football. He's sad about it and losing his enthusiasm for school rapidly.

Does this football obsession go on forever? I try to encourage him to practice and play it when he wants but he's just not keen.

He's keen on going to a lunchtime art club that some of the Year 6s organise but his teacher (deep sigh) keeps forgetting that he is signed up for it so he's missed it for a couple of weeks.

Rosenotinyorkshire Tue 17-May-11 12:34:37

Meryl. I think it is very hard for boys who are not into football. It is the same at my son's school. My ds is a bit older - he is now KS2 and you wouldn't believe the arguements lunchtime football causes. Our school has just introduced a policy of one non-ball day for all, and the remaining 4 days are split into two, so each year group can only play football twice a week. It may be worth asking your class teacher if such a policy could be introduced? My son does like football but I was sick and tired of hearing about the hassle and he is enjoying playing games and the like that were sidelined because of the dreaded football. Sorry cant be more help. I think it can be massively anti-social and schools can do more to promote other games.

thisisyesterday Tue 17-May-11 12:38:38

hmm i'd be having a BIG chat with his class teacher about art club... that's not fair to make him miss out just becauise she "forgets" and i'd be pretty cross about that!

are there really NO other kids in his class that aren't playing football? my ds is in year 1 and I have to admit i've never seen any of them playing football at lunchtime (i often walk past on way to nursery)... ther emust be some likeminded kids in his class surely?

SarkyLady Tue 17-May-11 12:48:25

I could have written your post sad

Ds1 spends most time playing with the girls but tbh that isn't really working either. He has a great friend at another school but just doesn't seem to have found anyone in his school that shares his interests. He just wants to talk about dinosaurs and starwars smile

vintageteacups Tue 17-May-11 13:16:32

In our primary, the classes take it in turns to play football and cricket and get one turn a week. That means they have to play other playground games for the rest of the time.

My ds was told he couldn't join in with cricket byt the other boys, as they had enough already and he couldn't hit the ball. I talked to his teacher saying he just wanted a turn and didn't have to be great at it. She said they only played it once a week and she'd make sure he could join in. Not sure how it's going but ds seems to be okay now.

speak to his teacher and suggest a rota system for ball games so non-sporty kids aren't left bored without mates.

GiddyPickle Tue 17-May-11 13:46:59

This is really common and, I hate to say it, but my DS is at the end of Primary school and it never did improve. All the boys are still as football mad as ever. Maybe he is just unlucky with his year group but it is a problem I have heard of at other schools too.

In fact some schools have football-free Fridays where no ball games are allowed just to give the boys who can't / don't play football a chance to form friendships and interact a bit more. In so many classes, it seems that, given half a chance, all boys will play football every single playtime and leave just one or two boys isolated.

Maybe you could talk to the school about it and see if they can come up with any solutions. Since it is something other schools tackle and recognise as a real problem, it would be nice if they could find a compromise at your school too.

JemimaMop Tue 17-May-11 13:53:47

My DC's school only allow football on Fridays. This works well for DS2 who is 7 as he isn't as football crazy as a lot of the boys. It annoys DS1 as he is football crazy, however IMO it does him good to do something else now and then rather than eat, sleep, breathe football!

TheVisitor Tue 17-May-11 13:55:41

Does his school not have play leaders in the playground? My kids did in their primary and it was great. Lots of organised games to join in if you want to or not, and football was only allowed at the other end well away from the rest.

MerylStrop Tue 17-May-11 17:00:56

sarkymummy, wish we could fix them up! that's ow Ds would like to spend his time.

DS is - according to school and other parents - pretty popular, he made lots of friends in Reception, but one by one football is overtaking them! No shortage of invitations to tea, has friends outside school and he still seems to be well liked. At school he plays mainly now with one little boy and girl from his class (who he went to nursery with incidentally) and sometimes one little boy from Reception. There are another couple of boys who are not into football but Ds doesn't really connect with them IYSWIM.

Do you seriously think that the school would listen if I suggested something like a no football day? Or would there just be hundreds of militant parents up in arms that their kids were being denied the right to play?

moscow Tue 17-May-11 17:59:33

Hello OP, this was my DS's exact problem back in YR3. That was when he transferred to juniors from the neighbouring infant school, which I think retained a bit of 'control' over playtimes with their reception-YR2s. I was really concerned, as it seemed to be an every day thing, and it bothered DS a lot and wasn't helped by the fact that not only did my DS just not want to play (and tbh didn't really know how, as DH is not what you'd call into football at all.... I think he has a bit of thing against what he sees as a loutish game and has always encouraged cricket and rugby, but that's because he went to a posh school grin). DS said he had tried to join in, but he rarely or never got the ball so what was the point?

Don't know if this is an issue with your DS but my DS also used to say it wasn't fair the others played football all the time, they were boring, etc etc. I spent a long time talking to him, explaining that no one has to join in with something if they don't want to (I don't want him to grow up a sheep), but also very importantly that it was fine for others to play football all day every day if they chose, that it was their choice, and he shouldn't criticise it.

I turned it round to DS and asked him how he'd feel if he 'insisted' anyone who didn't want to play his games join in, or were told they were boring etc...

This continued for several weeks, possibly most of one half term, and some days he'd say he had joined in a little bit, other days he said he'd played x with y and z, other days went to the library or a club, but gradually it all ironed itself out... I always tried to instil a sense of variety in him, and just to carry on playing his games, suggesting them to anyone who might be interested, and it turned out fine. DS is Yr5 now, one of the most popular boys in his class/year, and much more confident. I just wanted to give the confidence to look at things a different way and look at ways to try to improve the situation without trying to engineer. I hope you find a way to help your DS. As he's younger, maybe a word at school would be a good idea?

UniS Tue 17-May-11 21:04:59

Is there a school council ( pupils) if so a letter to the school council from your son ( not you) asking if a playground rota of football/ non football days might be a good idea, OR if football can have a smaller area or be different years on different days... would get class reps thinking about if the current system is fair.

You got to bear in mind that non football MIGHT be worse than football, likely to be more fighting ( play and otherwise) more "army" and shooting games, more winding up and teasing. Football does have it uses in keeping a large group of energetic children occupied fairly peacefully.

alphabetti Wed 18-May-11 17:12:53

I don't think hassling schools into disallowing football for primary aged kids is fair at all. I do think it is sad for kids to be left out and that is what you maybe need to speak to a teacher about and tell them that your child feels left out. My DS is 7 and he is footy mad but his school doesn't let them have balls at playtime just in PE lessons. I think it is a little sad really as I remember when I was at school and everyone bringing bats/balls/skipping ropes etc and there always being loads of games going on at playtime. I actually think it would be better for my DS and his friends to play footy as all that seems to happen instead is that they crawl through mud playing army or ben 10 and comes home with filthy trousers and shoes or gets holes in knees of trousers.

GiddyPickle Wed 18-May-11 18:46:33

alphabetti - but your school goes too far the other way. That's not what anyone here is suggesting at all.
Most schools don't disallow balls at all and as a result, all the footie mad boys in every year play CONSTANT football every single lunch and break time. This not only monopolises a lot of the playground space upsetting the girls but it leaves a few boys who can't or won't play football totally friendless for most of their free time at school.

The ideal for most parents and children would be a school that did allow football on some days of the week and encouraged other games on other days. That way everybody would be happier.

Timetowaste Wed 18-May-11 19:21:02

I do not think it is right to organise kids play time. Too much of children's lives nowadays are regimented and they are told what they can and cannot do.

At my dc school they have a fenced in astro pitch where they can go to play football, I understand my kids are in there about 8 of the 15 play sessions a week (am/lunch/pm breaks x 5).

They did impose that girls had to be in the football area after parents of girls complained that it was always all boys and not enough girls. There is one girl who is in there over 10 play sessions a week, the other girls just don't want to be in there. So they went through a stage where there were 10 boys and 1 girl in there, and 9 boys desperate to get in, but not allowed to as those spaces were for girls only. Fortunately they have now been scrapped.

OP your ds has not got people to play with, he is just choosing to not play with the ones who are not playing football. And that is right and fair that he gets that choice, but it is also right and fair that the kids who choose to play football can do so, rather than being forced to play with non-football playing kids.

cyb Wed 18-May-11 19:23:06

I dont think football should be allowed in infant age playgrounds, or juniors for that matter
. It totally dominates the whole space and whilst I appreciate sport can teach boys (as it is always the boys) lots of skills, it means 90% of the playground and loads of friends are off limits

BeerTricksPotter Wed 18-May-11 19:32:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

foxinsocks Wed 18-May-11 19:36:44

Can't see why they can't play football when they want. Ds plays football every breaktime and always has done. Can't say that dd has ever been bothered - in fact I think they are delighted to have their games not being ruined by marauding boys.

Dd says that half way through year 5, the boys stopped playing football as much. I asked her why and she said it was because they started being more interested in the girls wink.

There must be another boy in the whole year that doesn't play football?

Cornflakemum Wed 18-May-11 20:05:19

I could have written your post - neither of my DSs like football.

DS1 retaliated by taking a (soft) tennis ball to school which he used to play with (himself) against a wall. Gradually some of his other friends came to join him and they invented their own game of 'handball' hmm

Can you give him some other options for playtime? Can he take in a small ball, or marbles, or jacks or something?

foxinsocks Wed 18-May-11 20:07:31

Ps as they get older they do play other games. From about yr2 onwards, they would engage in quite lively cops and robbers games. I think ds will find that there are others like him, who are just joining in for the sake of joining in and will happily play something else sometimes when given an option.

MerylStrop Wed 18-May-11 21:00:15

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Foxinsocks and timetowaste DS's school - so far as I am aware does NOT restrict football, nor organise play at lunchbreak, nor would I necessarily be in favour of that. We live in a football-obsessed city and I think other parents might feel their children's human rights were being eroded. It IS excluding though, especially for the kids who recognise they are just not that good at it!

Great idea about the jacks/marbles. Will suggest that.

Roll on year 5 then.

Mamonaku Sun 22-May-11 13:14:03

Hi Merylstrop,

Around Yr1 / Yr2 boys tend to get particularly into swapping and collecting. Would your DS be interested in Pokemon cards / Club Penguin / Dr Who cards / Gogos?

I know how you feel as my son is so not into football. He is very fortunate that he's in a class with other non-football playing boys but if he was in any of the other two classes in his year he'd probably be feeling very isolated.

The football kids generally enjoy other ball sports so the tennis handball game is a good one, as is basketball if there's a hoop (more often in juniors).

When my son was in infants he'd bring toy cars to school to play with 'car mad' boys.

MerylStrop Tue 07-Jun-11 10:05:12

Hallo, me again.

We had a fab half term, friends to play, lots of things to do.

But picked up a very sad DS from school yesterday. He says he watched everyone else play football on his own and he feels lonely at playtimes.

He keeps his chin up but I could cry for him.

Do I speak to the school? What am I asking them for anyway?

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 07-Jun-11 11:05:55

UniS' suggestion of your son asking the school council to consider various options is great - it puts the ball (no pun intended) in the children's court.

MerylStrop Tue 07-Jun-11 11:19:30

He's on the school council himself - bit of a conflict of interest there!
And he's only 6 - I am not sure he's really able to do that.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 07-Jun-11 11:55:22

But aren't school councils set up in such a way as to give even the youngest children a voice? Isn't that what they're for?

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