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Social skills and integration, can/schould school help? Or is it only up to parent?

(8 Posts)
timetoask Thu 15-Sep-11 11:19:50

Hello,
My DS started reception 2 weeks ago, he is a happy child, he enjoys the company of other children however he is a little shy. From what I have observed, he likes being with other children but will never take the first step to try and chat or play with them. He needs plenty of encouragement to join in.

Yesterday he told me that he only has one friend and that would like to have more but it's just not happening and that he is feeling a little sad. The class only has 12 children mostly boys. Is it too soon to expect him to have more friends?

I am wondering if I should approach the teacher to ask her if school can do something to help him integrate better at play time? I know my DS and left to his own devises it will be really hard for him to make more friends. Is this realistic or are schools not really expected to help with social skills?

It is difficult for me to organise playdates at home, my eldest has special needs and makes it really difficult to invite people around (for various reasons).

My own social skills are not fantastic unfortunately, and I am aware of the impact that lack of social integration can have on self-esteem. DS is a confident child at the moment and I really don't want this to change.

Any words of advice are appreciated.

IndigoBell Thu 15-Sep-11 11:22:53

Schools should and do teach social skills.

Have a word with his teacher.

At the same time, it's only been 2 weeks, so is very early days. So I would say there's no rush to see the teacher.......

timetoask Thu 15-Sep-11 11:31:33

sorry about the title! "should" not schould! typing error.

Thanks Indigo, I am pleased to know that the school should get involved. I am going to wait until next week. Do you know how other schools teach these skills? Do they get involved at break time? Do they pair children up for tasks? DS has been sitting with 3 other children at the same table and never talks about any of them, I don't think he even knows their names yet.

Would love to know from other people with similar children.

Lizcat Thu 15-Sep-11 12:07:07

I know at our school this is discussed in PSHE. They also have a friendship bench where if you are lonely you go and sit and the other children should come and invite you to play if they don't the duty staff prompts a child to do this.

munstersmum Thu 15-Sep-11 13:18:04

School can help hugely but I think it's also very early days. IME boys do not get 'best'/close friends until around year2. School told us it all depended on what game was being played on any given day who chose to play with who.

I used to ask DS in yr1 if he would like a friend to come for tea & he would say X or Y because X or Y has never been before, so it was never the same kid twice. confused But he claimed all year his best friend was one of the girls - she got her one invite too!

Don't worry about not hosting playdates. If he has any interest in football at all I would encourage that as it seems to become the common interest for many.

Consider leaving it until after Christmas? Then they will have been paired with lots of kids for different activities, he'll have been invited to a couple of birthday parties.

Fairenuff Thu 15-Sep-11 20:37:15

School staff will observe all children during classwork and playtime and will be aware if a child seems unhappy or lonely. However, whilst staff will encourage children to pair up or play in small groups, to be kind to each and friendly, they are aware that some children are perfectly happy to just watch others play and there is no need to try and make them join in if they don't want to. In my school, one little girl in reception spent every playtime standing still watching others play. In Year 1 she began to join in and was popular with other girls. Now, in Year 2 she is a charming, lively, bright little girl with lots of friends and always joins in at playtime.

Speak to the teacher if you are concerned but don't worry too much. Once he is comfortable, he will feel ready to join in more.

theliverpoolone Thu 15-Sep-11 21:32:42

Hi. I spoke to my dd's teacher about exactly this, this week. DD is only just 4 and started in Reception last week. She too has always struggled to take the first step to interact socially with other children (although is very confident with adults!) and spent most of her time at preschool just wandering round not joining in sad. She also finds lots of noise and hustle and bustle difficult.

She did become friendly with one child in preschool who's in her reception class, as well as another girl she knew from elsewhere - and I'd hoped that they would be good buddies for her as she settled into Reception, but unfortunately so far they seem to be off playing with other children, leaving her on her own. After a few days of me asking her who she'd played with, and her saying no-one or being really evasive, which was making me really anxious and upset for her, I thought I'd have a word with her teacher sooner rather than later, to see if they'd observed her being on her own and to make them aware of my concerns. I'm really glad I did, as for the last two days her teacher's fed back to me about the interactions she's observed dd having, and also what she's now done to try to help her get to know and join in with small numbers of other children, in the class and at playtime. It's obviously early days, but I'm really reassured that dd will be helped and supported with this, and not just left to struggle on her own.

Please do talk to your ds's teacher - I'm really not a confident person myself, but I've learnt that if I'm going to do what's best for dd, I've got to sometimes step outside my own comfort zone and not care if they think I'm a fussy mum or whatever. (although the teacher did also suggest I invite some children round for tea, which I do struggle with as I don't really know the other parents......)

Hope things work out well for your ds smile.

Discobabe Fri 16-Sep-11 23:14:37

Definately speak to the teacher it will put your mind at rest. My ds has had some help socially at nursery/school. He also wouldn't approach the other kids to chat or join in any games/activities unless invited. His confidence has improved no end the last year (he's just started yr 1). The teachers were always very good at getting the other kids to invite him to join in if they noticed he was hovering but unsure. He's not settled in yr 1 yet but a quick word with the teacher and she's paired him up with a couple of other kids in the same situation so its helpful for him and others smile

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