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Year 1 girl having problems making friends

(12 Posts)
Campaspe Mon 24-Sep-12 18:40:26

My DD, who will be 6 in December, is in Y1. She loves school and does well academically. In Reception, she had a best friend from whom she was absolutely inseparable; they did everything together and had a very exclusive friendship. This child has since moved abroad, and DD has been left rather desolate after putting all her friendship eggs in one basket, so to speak.

She now sits alone to have lunch, or has a random child sat next to her. She plays on her own in the playground. She tells me this is through preference, as she doesn't like the games the other children in her class play, and wants to play her own game. She is a tomboyish little girl, more interested in cars, other vehicles, space etc, although she does like fairies. DD is not at all interested in clothes, princesses, and regards wearing nail varnish etc as a bit silly (this is what she tells me). She is also disapproving of bad behaviour in class, as she is desperate to please and loves an academic, structured approach to things, so although she is too shy/quiet to tell tales, she doesn't like to be around children messing about(!)

I feel really worried about her being lonely and always playing alone, although she doesn't want me to do anything to change this (eg won't sit on the friendship bench, doesn't want me to talk to her teacher, won't make much effort to instigate playing with others). She loves going to school and learning, and she does occasionally really enjoy playing with other children on a one to one basis, but she does seem to be mostly content alone.

My worries are:
How can I help her get over her excruciating shyness and join in with others a bit more?
How can I help her to understand that she can't always choose what game they will play, and that having friends means compromising sometimes?
I strongly feel that she is lovable just as she is, but am I making her stand out more if she doesn't conform to girly norms like being interested in appearance etc?

Her YR teachers told me she was a lovely, very able, quirky little girl who would grow in confidence as she got older, but it's breaking my heart to think of her on her own in the playground (even though she isn't too bothered), and I know she would love to find a little soul mate. We do playdates, after school activities etc all with limited success. What more can I do?

crazygracieuk Mon 24-Sep-12 19:48:04

You haven't mentioned how the boys react to her.

In my experience, in a class of 30 kids with similar split, there will be one or two girls who mainly play with boys. My youngest son is y2 and there is a girl in his group who is definitely one of the gang.

Campaspe Mon 24-Sep-12 20:54:50

She plays with some boys occasionally, but again, she doesn't have anyone with whom she really "clicks". On the odd occasions she does play with others, it tends to be a small mixed group.

Noomininoo Mon 24-Sep-12 22:23:58

My Y1 DD1 is in a similar position. She had a best friend in reception who lived in our street but she was a foster child and has now moved to an adoptive family (300 miles away). Since this friend has gone she hasn't really 'clicked' with anyone new. Its almost as if the friendships were all forged within the first few weeks & DD1 has kind of missed the boat now.

I also find that a lot of children are friends because their Mums are friends or they live close to one another. Unfortunately, I don't do the school drop offs/pick ups so I don't really know any of the other Mums & we don't live particularly close to any of the other girls in her class. The fact that I'm painfully shy myself probably doesn't help matters either sad

She does play with other children but its always a different child every day & she just doesn't seem to have any close friends. She's never been invited to a play date & when we go to parties there always seems to be little 'cliques' of children playing together with my DD1 either amusing herself or flitting between them trying to get involved with their little games.

Unfortunately I don't have any answers but I will be watching this thread with interest.

BlueSkySinking Mon 24-Sep-12 23:14:46

Ask her who she would like play dates with and try and set them up regularly.

Sossiges Mon 24-Sep-12 23:27:10

Some children just prefer their own company, if she seems happy enough then don't worry about it. I got on with most people at school but never really had a best friend (except for one girl who arrived for a while and then moved away again) and was quite happy being by myself (I still am).
She was lucky she had that good friend, but she might not find another "best" friend and I don't think you can really manufacture friendships for her.

dixiechick1975 Tue 25-Sep-12 12:51:00

Have you got her on the waiting list to start Beavers (scouts) when she is 6? Ideally one where some schoolmates go aswell.

May be a good chance to meet some friends out of school.

Rainbows (girlguides) is another option but Beavers may suit better as it is mixed.

theliverpoolone Tue 25-Sep-12 13:36:10

No advice I'm afraid, but just wanted to say she sounds just like my YR1 dd - I wish they knew each other! I especially recognise what you said about her being desperate to please and disapproving of naughty behaviour, although my dd does tell the teacher if she sees any, which isn't going to do anything to endear her to her classmates sad. She also struggles with parties, and loud noise, and often doesn't join in/gets upset by the noise, even if the others are from her class. In Reception my dd only had a 'close' friend for a short spell of a couple of weeks, until the other girl decided to move on to new friends.....

I help sometimes at her school with school trips etc, and I dread it really as the first time I did it her class were lined up holding hand in twos ready to leave, and dd was standing there on her own sad.

I do have her on a waiting list for Rainbows, and I push myself out of my own comfort zone a lot to talk to other mums and initiate playdates, even though sometimes they might not be reciprocated - which I think can be partly because other mums aren't as desperate to help their dcs make friends, and partly because they might have other siblings so already have someone to play with at home (my dd is an only child, is yours?).

I'll keep watching this thread. Good luck smile

Pavlovthecat Tue 25-Sep-12 13:43:40

Are you absolutely sure she plays with no-one? I ask this because when DD was in reception and also yr1 she would often say she didn't play with anyone or sit with anyone at lunch, that she was alone. She has some friends, but only a couple of close ones, rather more friends with the boys and plays with them much much more.

It really used to upset me that she did not play with anyone when she said this, but, after some pressing, or asking questions in a different way she would then go on to say 'apart from john, and josie in yr2. and i played a little bit with sarah but only until john wanted me to play with him and joe. I sat on my own at lunch time, but that was because xxx who is my best friend was hot dinners so then joe came to sit with me'.

I also asked at school if she played on her own at all. And they said rarely and gave me some names of children she played with. So maybe worth asking the teachers?

Also. If she is in fact not playing with anyone, do they have a friendship bench or mentors who can help? Are there games that get played that she likes to join in, maybe the teachers can be aware and encourage the mentors to get her involved in those games, bring her out of her shell a little?

When did her friend leave? It can take a little while to settle back in without your best buddy but hopefully she will find her feet again.

Campaspe Tue 25-Sep-12 18:52:23

Thank you for your replies. Pavlov - no, I can't be absolutely sure that she is always on her own. It's hard to get her to talk about it. Her teacher hasn't mentioned any problems yet; when I asked, she said that DD hadn't yet found anyone to pair up with, and suggested a few names of others girls who might make suitable friends. I have arranged some playdates and done my best to be-friend mums, but it seems to have had very limited success.

Liverpoolone - gosh, snap! My DD is an only child, and I think this really shows. She is used to the company of adults in spite of my best attempts to arrange a social life for her. I can so relate about your DD struggling with loud noise, and finding it difficult to join in at parties. It's heartbreaking isn't it? I do feel embarrassed about my rather manic attempts to arrange get-togethers with other parents just to try to encourage DD to join in.

I haven't considered Rainbows, but am looking out for an after-school club.

I actually look forward to the day when DD's teacher tells me that DD was too busy chatting to other children to listen properly. I do wonder to what extent teachers are aware of situations such as these.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Wed 26-Sep-12 17:18:23

She isn't too bothered. So don't project your fears onto her. She sounds like an independent, free-thinking type to me, which is a good thing! Don't nag her about it (I do understand your anxieties) and in the fullness of time she'll make new, good friends. I speak as someone who's been there and wasted a lot of time needlessly fretting.

ProfYaffle Wed 26-Sep-12 17:27:09

My yr1 dd2 is exactly the same! She had 2 close friends last year, one has moved away and the other is now in a different class, although dd2 is distancing herself from this friend anyway as she thinks she's too naughty.

I can only echo other advice on here, get other children over for playdates and don't make too big a deal of it. I've been and had a word with the teacher today and she's going to coax dd2 to play with some of the other yr1 girls (she's in a blended yr2/1 class) instead of working through 'free play' time as she does at the moment.

Oh, and having a sibling isn't always an advantage. Dd2 does tend to fall back on dd1 at playtime etc which is causing huge headaches with dd1's friends who don't want a pesky little sister hanging around <sigh>

I think Year 1 is quite hard on them. Dd1 also had problems at this stage but is now settled with a lovely little group of friends.

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