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Is this normal or is she overly anxious?

(7 Posts)
Timeforanewname2014 Thu 29-Jan-15 20:48:09

My DD is (just) 6 and in her second year at school. She has never liked going in (to out it mildly) but seems to enjoy and like the academic side. Lots of discussions have finally helped us get to the bottom of what is worrying her. She doesn't like being on her own at playtime. She seems to have a lot of friends (lots of play dates and party invites- although I wonder how much of this is because I arrange lots) , but on (many according to her) occasion spends play times "walking round on [her] own" which makes her "feel sad." We have tried to encourage her to go up and ask someone if they can join in her game but she doesn't seem able to. She says she is worried to do this. My question is, is this usual for children of this age or do you think she is more shy than others? If the later, any idea for things we can try? Thanks in advance smile

tethersend Thu 29-Jan-15 21:18:31

I think at six, it's a huge expectation for them to go up to established games and friendship groups and ask to join in. That would make most adults anxious!

I don't think her behaviour is anything to worry about (I say that as the mother of an exceptionally shy 6yo who has only just started speaking to her grandparents); but her situation is a cause for concern.

Speak to the teacher. They need to support your DD to build her confidence, and work with the other children to include her at play times. Social interaction is as important to their development at that age as academics, so I would expect the teacher to take it seriously.

Children can't always work out the intricacies of social interaction by themselves, and it's normal for them to need some guidance. I say that about the other children as much as your DD- they could benefit from being taught to look out for children with nobody to play with and to include them in their play.

MMmomKK Thu 29-Jan-15 21:30:09

I wonder if something else is not going on. Are there rough kids, or is there bullying? If it was only her 1st year of school, then I'd have said - give it some time. But a 1.5 years and not being able to join in in other kids games rings some alarm bells for me. She must feel so terribly lonely there! I'd definitely be checking in with the teacher to get to the bottom of it.

DD1 was quite young and also shy when she started Reception. I put a lot of effort in playdates in the first two terms. At first we invited various girls from her class. I watched them to see who clicks better with her, and in the 2nd term we just invited 2-3 girls that she got along with best.

Also - I tried to make the playdates interesting for the girls - we either did crafts, or some kind of activities. I also got them little souvenirs to bring home - a key chain here, a bracelet there. Sometimes on weekends I took her and a couple of friends to a little neighbourhood kids theatre.

My main goal was to make sure that these girls want to come back to our house and play with DD. Thus, hopefully, would want to play with her at school.

For us - it all paid off. By the end of Reception DD1 had a "best friend" and a couple of "good friends".

Fleurdelise Thu 29-Jan-15 21:37:50

I would say it is normal. Dd is 7yo and in year 3 (summer born so one of the youngest) and she comes home from time to time saying that nobody plays with her. But when discussing further we find out that nobody wanted to play HER way but she din play with x and y their games. Also in the morning and after school she goes in/comes out surrounded by girls chatting away so it looks fine to me.

She is shy though and today she said something that made me feel sad, she said "today I played with the cool girls, they now want to play with me". When I asked her who those are I understood what they have and she doesn't: confidence.

So I'll work on getting the "cool" girls to play dates and sleepovers more often to show dd they are just normal girls and they can play together.

Timeforanewname2014 Thu 29-Jan-15 22:01:31

Thanks all. I am 99% sure there is no bullying (I know most of the parent quite well) and rough play is no more than you ever get with children IYSWIM? Lots of useful ideas/thoughts thank you. Fleur - you are so right about the cool girls having the confidence, I wish I could make her realise what we learn as adults that everyone feels a but like that and the people that seem cool are just the ones with confidence smile

MerryMarigold Thu 29-Jan-15 22:08:44

A few points:

A. You just never know how much of what they say is 'true'. My ds2 is also 6 and says his best friend is a boy who I know he rarely plays with (he does live on our road, but they are just not into the same stuff at playtime). Whenever I walk past school, I see him playing with another boy in his class, but apparently they are not friends confused. I have asked. He didn't want to ask this boy to his birthday. Personally, I would observe a bit if this is possible.

B. Bullying, even at 6, is often not rough play but leaving people out, laughing at them, controlling them (you can't be Elsa, I'm Elsa). There may be this going on, especially with girls.

Try and observe if you can, and ask the teachers to keep an eye out. They do playground duty so they should be able to keep an eye on her. Do push it a bit with the teachers as they can take things with a pinch of salt. You need to say she is unhappy, and you are worried about her friendships.

Ferguson Thu 29-Jan-15 22:09:08

I'm surprised the school doesn't have anything set up by teachers/TAs/MTAs to 'look out' for children in situations like that.

When I was a TA I would try to notice children who needed a bit of support or encouragement and bring them together with someone suitable; though of course, you can't MAKE children be friends.

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