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Problems socialising in reception

(16 Posts)
AngryFeet Sat 15-Oct-11 10:02:16

DS is really struggling and I am worried about him so hope someone can give me some advice.

He started nursery at 2.5 which he did for 2 mornings a week at a local nursery then after 1 term moved to 3 mornings a week. The next Sept I moved him to the nursery of the school he would be going to (his sister was already there so knew he would get a place). At the first nursery he rarely played with anyone but since he was so young I didn't think anything of it. At the school nursery he settled in fine after a month but it took him quite a while to make a friend but he did end up becoming quite close to one boy. I had the DC about 2.5 years apart and they have always been very close so spent ages playing together. I took them to the odd playgroup and out to the park lots so they did get to meet other kids but DS always seemed suspicious of them so would always tell them to go away if they wanted to play with him. I did chastise him for this but he did it until he was about 3.

Anyway he started reception 5 weeks ago and is struggling to play with anyone else. His teacher says he is very solitary but seems to be happy that way. He does join in with games etc when asked though. She has noticed when he wants to play with others he gets cross and throws something (at the floor not at others!) as he can't seem to figure out how to join in. I have chatted to her a couple of times about this just to check he is still ok and a couple of times a week I ask DS if he has found anyone to play with yet. Unfortunately I think he is picking up on this as this week he has been getting tearful (eyes welling up and wanting huge cuddles if I mention who he has played with or when I drop him off). I asked why he was sad and he said he didn't like school as he hadn't made a friend yet and noone wants to play with him. I feel awful now as I didn't mean to push him (I honestly haven't been nagging on and on I just just casually mentioned it every now and then) but he seems upset.

The school are fantastic anyway -he had a few accidents in the first 3 weeks and they cleaned him up 3 times a day with no problems, they get him involved in games with small groups to help him socialise, he is joining a small group with the SEN teacher each Thursday morning to help with his speech (he has good speech just needs some help forming certain sounds better) and his social skills, give him a bit of one on one adult time with a TA if they think he needs it etc etc.

They are doing all they can I just think I need to do more at my end but am not sure what. I am a very social person but DH is less so but I think we show him social skills on a regular basis. Am not sure though - what do people do to show their kids social skills. One big problem is the all of our friends have DDs so when we visit them to play our DD and theirs tend to go off and exclude DS from their playing (we try to get them to involve him as much as we can). He is at the stage of wanting to play with boys though and we don't know any! I have arranged a playdate with one of the mums in his class who has a lovely boy who is very friendly and seems to have taken a shine to DS so fingers crossed there.

Anything else we can do to help?

Sorry that was very long!!

AngryFeet Sat 15-Oct-11 10:48:21


AngryFeet Sat 15-Oct-11 11:41:53

Bump again sad

workshy Sat 15-Oct-11 11:51:42

is he interested in anything like football? perhaps joining a club after school or at the weekends would help?

I would also get his name down for Beavers -they can't start till 6 but often have a waiting list. If he is missing the company of boys then he will benefit from it.

It sounds like the school is making an effort to integrate him and a play date is a fantastic idea -some kids are more solitary and don't need loads of friends so I'm sure he will find his own level smile

TheWorldisYourLobster Sat 15-Oct-11 12:10:27

My dd found it difficult to play with other children in reception. The school were very concerned about her and wanted to refer her for a Speech and Language consultation. We resisted that, as she was absolutely fine socialising out of school. Now she is in Year 2 and has lots of friends.

I think the problem was that she just found the environment in the classroom overwhelming, it was too noisy and busy for her so she just played with her imaginary friends and was quite happy! She was very young in the year, an only child and, although she had attended toddler groups and a very small pre-school for 2 mornings a week, she was just not used to the busy class room environment.

If your ds is willing and able to play with other children in your home or with friends out of school, then it may be that he is lacking confidence in the more boisterous class room setting.

I would suggest arranging a few play dates and as the previous poster suggested, joining some clubs to build his confidence.

ScareyFairenuff Sat 15-Oct-11 15:20:34

It's not that unusual in reception for a child to enjoy or even prefer their own company. I wouldn't worry about it if he's not bothered. It sounds like the school are dong plenty to help him and the playdate that you have arranged is a good idea. I would be guided by him for now. If he is happy playing on his own or observing others that is fine.

A lot of the time he will be involved in group activities such as PE or music or other learning where he will be mixing with other children with adult support. If the playdate goes well, then 1-1 socialising might be preferable to him, so set up some more dates every couple of weeks or so.

Just give it some time and let him know he is absolutely fine, lovely and gorgeous just the way he is.

Pancakeflipper Sat 15-Oct-11 15:35:41

I think you are doing all you can.

Just try to hold back from asking him questions about who he played with - had lunch with etc... He seems to be picking up on the concerns you have. I have to ask my eldest questions like : "tell me something fun that happened at school today?" I get quite a lot of info on what's going on his world of school - otherwise he'd tell me zilch.

I think the playdates/tea after school etc is a great idea. He might feel happier socialisng 1 to 1 for now.

And I think it's great that he's going into a small group with the SEN teacher - I think his confidence might benefit from this.

Also get his name down for the local Beaver group (he cannot start yet but there's often a waiting list ) and other activities like football, tennis, art clubs etc

member Sat 15-Oct-11 15:49:51

Some children are just happier on their own.

The school facilitating things with an adult "suggesting" what your ds might do/say next in social situations is good though.

A bit of a left of field question based on my dd2; has your ds been checked for hearing problems(esp glue ear which can come & go)? My dd when hers was at it's worst/before diagnosis really did isolate herself. She'd obviously mastered some lip-reading/responded to questions by a bit of guesswork but had obviously found it too difficult in group situation(she tended to have a bit of paranoia going on). Just a thought anyway.

She is better & does have a group of friends now in Yr 2 but I can predict every parent's evening will contain the words "she's very quiet but she seems happy enough"

AngryFeet Sat 15-Oct-11 18:08:22

Thanks ladies. He does rugby on Sundays now and swimming on Wednesdays so I think these will help (just started the rugby). I already have his name down for the beavers too smile

Will check the hearing thing just in case.

I will definitely stop asking him about who he played with as it is definitely stressing him out.

AngryFeet Mon 17-Oct-11 13:39:53

More tears today sad He holds on tight to me in the morning and his eyes well up. He doesn't cry loudly just more of a welling up and spilling over of tears and a real sadness on his face. Heartbreaking sad Left him on his own playing the computer - the other boys are all starting to play together. I really hope he doesn't get left out long term because he struggled to play with them at the start...

snice Mon 17-Oct-11 13:42:58

are they allowed to take toys in for playtime? If so, how about sending him with a couple of cheap cars to play with? If he gets them out in the playground I guarantee other boys will want to play with them too and it might be a start

AngryFeet Mon 17-Oct-11 13:56:51

Um not sure. Don't think so but I can ask. Although his reception is very play based so they already have dinosaurs, cars, train sets etc to play with.

dearheart Mon 17-Oct-11 14:30:38

Makes friends with the mums of other boys, so you can invite kids round after school more easily. Go to the nearest park after school, which can help. But don't get too desperate about it - it is early days.

If he is going to a nurture group with the SEN teacher, he will be with other children who are struggling as well - that will help him. I would keep in contact with the teacher about it, and ask her for advice on what you can do at home to support his social skills at school.

It's really tough this parenting thing.

DeWe Mon 17-Oct-11 14:38:57

I'll bet that not all the other boys are playing together. wink

In my experience at this point of reception friendship is usually pretty fluid. I'd reckon a good proportion of the children were moving into friend groups not until towards the end of year 1.

AngryFeet Mon 17-Oct-11 15:43:21

Well I was at the school early today to watch DDs harvest festival concert and I spyed on him in the playground for 5 mins wink. He was playing with 2 other boys so all is not lost!

I have made friends with a few of the mums now two of which have boys so have set up a play date with one. There is no local park sadly so no go there but I am feeling less anxious now smile

3duracellbunnies Mon 17-Oct-11 21:08:26

I can't offer much advice, except dd1 didn't really settle into a friendship group until the end of reception. I am going through the same thing with dd2, who says she didn't play with anyone and they all call her a meanie. I know she is sometimes a bit quirky, but she doesn't seem to know what it is she has done, and I wonder if it is her generalising, but it is really upsetting, esp as the first few weeks she seemed to be making friends, but suddenly it all changed and she seems to have shut down. I have been encouraged by the staff response, am wondering too whether worth leaving the questions and just asking the teacher once a week. It is heartbreaking when it is your little one but I guess all we can do is support them and help them gain the skills. First in a long line of times to begin to let go.

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