If your kids never get chosen for anything - how do you deal with it?(18 Posts)
So my year 5 nine year old never seems to get chosen for anything. In fact she has never been chosen for anything, ever, in primary school. Some of it is bad luck I guess (student councils), some of it is perhaps lack of effort on her part but there have been a few instances lately where she's really done her best and still not been chosen. The straw that has broken the camels back this week is trying out for the swimming team and not being chosen despite being a really good swimmer (independently verified by her swimming instructor!). She is really despondent now and I just don't know how to make it better. Can anyone suggest any out of school activities she can try that are inclusive and might help her confidence and self esteem? What can I say or do to make it better?
I am so proud of her, she has many wonderful qualities but sadly these don't seem to be the kinds of qualities that get you noticed or chosen for stuff.
I was a TA for many years, and teachers and support staff should always try to give ALL children a fair 'go' at all activities, even ones they may not be particularly good at. But it is often the quieter, well behaved child who merges into the background, who gets overlooked.
If you have a friendly TA or helper in the class, maybe you could ask them to help.
In my ten years as TA I ran recorder groups, did computer activities and touch typing as lunchtime clubs. I coached children to play percussion to accompany the Christmas production each year, and for a while ran a percussion club.
I guess the most obvious out-of-school activities are sports, music, and drama. There are also groups like Brownies (or whatever the modern equivalent it is), and similar organisations. When I did voluntary family support, with children who were having difficulties at school, we had a 'drop-in' room so children could get out of the playground, and do activities, or just chat to an independent adult, who wasn't 'staff'. A Yr6 girl, who had some behaviour issues in class, surprised me when she told me she was a St John's Ambulance cadet, and she was proud of the medical knowledge and skills she was acquiring.
So there is plenty going on, out there, and I hope DD finds something suitable.
My ds(8) isn't good at school sports (or at least, not as good as others), so is B or C team. He's not the sort to get picked for a solo or the front of things either.
Outside of school, we cycle as a family, and he's doing really, really well in long distance events which aren't competitive as such - up to 24 miles this year, we'll go up to 35 next year. He's also done a kids triathlon, which was brilliant as they made such a big thing of it being an achievement to take part and finish.
We enjoy doing this together, and as its outside of a club, we can control what we do and don't do.
Its been great for ds to do something others don't too
I have three teenagers who were never picked for anything at school. They've turned out to be very independently minded, don't follow the herd and are critical thinkers. Just saying.
Guides or Scouting are a good place to start. Very inclusive and they get to mix outside their school peer groups
I think the Brownies/cubs is probably the most inclusive type group where you don't have to have any particular skill or talent or be chosen.
Find out what other clubs the school have. do they have art/craft/knitting/sewing/gardening etc?
Does she do swimming outside of school then? what about doing more of that, or even trying synchronised swimming?
Teamgym is a very all inclusive form of gymnastics where they do routines as a big group so you could look into a club near you if there is one or something along the dancing/cheerleading type line. Cheerleading being a real group event but dancing is really an individual one.
what else does she like? music? singing? is there a choir?
or martial arts?
just trying to think of something different, something where she won't feel she is competing with people, certainly not with people from her class, something that will give her her own goals and where she can see how well she progresses with it to prove to herself that she can learn a new skill and become good at it.
drama is another good one.
Whereabouts in the country are you?
Brownies has Leaders of each group though. Some children never manage this accolade either! Sadly drama has children that are chosen for everything and your child gets to be a mute rabbit!
I am not sure how you overcome this. Just keep trying with the swimming club if it is not a school club. My DD was good at dancing and had done lessons and exams for years but was not allowed to organise the dance sequence for an inter-house competition at school. A girl was chosen who had never had a dance lesson in her life! Sometimes it is very upsetting especially if it is the one thing your DD is good at. Boost self esteem at home as much as possible and reward small successes. Not ideal, but better than no recognition at all.
I feel your pain. It is often the same names that come up at school. The only thing DS (10) did recently was a district cross country running event which was more voluntary than other things. He came near the end of the field but that didn't matter. He's also started doing weekly junior park runs where you get a bar code and a time each week and can see how you're progressing personally, rather than it all being about competing against others.
As others have said concentrate on out of school stuff.
My DD's thing is musical theatre, she belongs to a small independent group (it is audition only), but every single child gets some form of solo part in every performance. No one at school really has any inkling of this.
I'm so sorry I've only just come back to this, had a hectic week. She did used to go to Brownies (and Rainbows before that) but dropped out last Easter. The school does have lots of clubs but it does seem to be that the same kids still get chosen for EVERYTHING across the board. I have taken your advice on board though; both me and DD's Dad are keen runners so this weekend we entered her into a 2k race. She was chuffed to bits to run it all without stopping and get a medal and T shirt at the end! She's taken them into school to show her teacher today. She knows that when we run we never 'win' and that we're always focused on doing our 'Personal Best' rather than beating anyone else so she didn't even think about or worry coming first. It's given her a real boost.
I think we'll also sign her up for the local drama club, I think it'll help with her confidence generally.
school should be running clubs though that don't involve 'being chosen'. Yes they can have sports teams and so on but I think there should be some activities which are just join in ones.
Drama really will help with her confidence I expect. Both mine started in in February and whilst they think they are just playing games (and therefore enjoying it a lot) they have definitely increased in confidence and I think you learn very useful life skills in drama.
The running sounds good. If there is some crafty activity she likes too perhaps look for groups/classes/workshops she could try for that or you can help her with. the sense of achievement of making something like a cushion for her bedroom or making a little summer skirt or something herself (we did them at school in Yr5, all hand sewing but if you have access to a machine she is old enough to use one, I had an old singer hand operated one bought for me for my 10th birthday and used it all the time making toy clothes etc). Or decorating a canvas to go on her wall? making felt Christmas decorations you could use on the tree. This way she can see the results of her work which will reinforce her achievement if that makes sense.
School does indeed have a Cross Country Running team. She was told she was chosen for it. Then a few weeks later told that actually she wasn't on the team after all. The same thing happened with Dancing. I'll be raising it at Parents Evening actually because it's one thing not being chosen but it's quite another giving kids the impression they have been chosen and then telling them they're not after all.
School activities really aren't remotely inclusive unfortunately. They take it very seriously and chose a team for everything and if you're not on the team you don't really get to take part. Well in theory you do but with the dancing, for example, 'taking part' if you're not on the team involves standing at the side shaking a tambourine.
She does love crafting though and we've done a few projects together but nothing recently. I love the idea of doing some Christmas decorations together though, I'll definitely look into that - thanks!
I mentioned to DSs teacher once that he was a bit despondent that he wasn't picked for things. She was really surprised as he is naturally a really happy chap in school and she hadn't thought he was bothered about it as he just got on with things. All the more vocally needy children were being picked. Once she realised he was just as 'needy' just not as vocal the balance changed and he was picked for things too.
i think the school need to sort themselves out. in a DANCE class they should be dancing not playing instruments.... Yes I believe in some level of competition and so on but I do also believe in clubs and groups at school should give everyone a chance.
As a primary music teacher that makes me really cross! I run loads of activities every week and some of them are audition only/have to be a certain standard, but I also run a choir that's open to all (we sing a lot of Disney!) our violin teacher runs differentiated groups so that violinists can be in an ensemble from their very first lesson. She runs 6 groups a week! We also enter and win music competitions so it is possible to do both.
Thanks teacher, she actually does play the violin funnily enough! She plays with a great local music club who give everybody a good shot - there are no 'starring roles' for anyone when they have their concerts.
Think I have a lot to raise at Parents Evening next week. Just got to make sure I don't come across as a pushy mum demanding my PFB gets chosen for everything whether she deserves it or not.
I would go and see the teacher outside of parents evening so less rushed. Explain how you and DD feel. They're probably unaware. IME this happens a lot - teachers busy and end up focused on the strugglers and the loud ones. Gets worse in year 5/6 when there seem to be more selection type things happening. By the end of DD1 time at primary it was the same 8 that got picked for every academic or sporting thing. Very frustrating. Happily, DD1 just started in y7 at local comp and so far so good and very inclusive. Too big to have favourites (ask me again in y8!)
Don't worry about coming across as pushy, just be factual and say she's upset about the fact that some of these opportunities haven't come off and these are activities she would like to be a part of and it seems a shame that they don't seem very inclusive. The whole point of primary school is so you can find out what you're good at!
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