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Can you help me deal with playground cliques? Not sure what to do

(8 Posts)
SarfEasticatedMumma Thu 14-May-15 20:46:10

My DD is 7, a not particularly gregarious child who is rather sensitive (she is kind and gentle and lovely though of course, just better one on one than in big groups. Definitely not an alpha female.). She has a very strong bond with another more dominant girl in her class and they are BFF's. When her special friend isn't there, she says the others won't play with her, because they are all tied up in there own little exclusive friendships. It all seems a bit unhealthy to me! I make sure she has friends outside school so everything is a bit more balanced, but I feel a bit uneasy about it all. What happens if they ever fall out? Is this normal for girls her age. I suggested via the 'communications card' that maybe they could have a play time each week when they all play with other people, but that didn't get a very warm reply. I know that some schools have 'play buddies' where older children patrol the playground organising games etc, but I doubt my suggesting that would go down very well!
Any suggestions about what I can do? Not sure how to equip my daughter to deal with this kind of thing...

Springtimemama Thu 14-May-15 22:44:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Springtimemama Thu 14-May-15 22:45:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Millymollymama Fri 15-May-15 01:32:04

I suspect your DD has formed her own mini clique with her special friend and that is why she is not readily invited to join other "cliques" or friendship groups. They can be very much an "in" or "out" type of arrangement. It appears she does not generally want to play with the other girls but then does wants to when her special friend is not there. I can see why this may not be received well by the other groups who have now established themselves.

I would be wary of the special friend relationship too, especially if it looks like she is tagging on to a more dominant girl. If this girl does fall out with her or move away, your DD could be very upset. Doing something about playground friendships is very difficult. Can she go to a playground supervisor who might organise games with other children? Are there any lunchtime activities? Can you be proactive and see if she can invite other children back to tea? What do you do for her birthday? Can you organise a special treat for several girls in the half term or summer holidays? Does the dominant best friend have other friends so there is a larger group she can be part of? Encourage your DD to invite the children home she works with in the classroom.

It is really difficult learning to be gregarious if you are not like that but I think you could ask the school for help in ensuring she can join in at playtime but children make their own minds up over friendship. However, she will form more healthy relationships in time because the groups of girls will change membership so she will find her place.

TeddTess Fri 15-May-15 14:38:42

having one special friend is a nightmare at this age and will get worse as she goes through yr5 and yr6
i would urgently try and get her to expand her friendship group, EVERYDAY, not just when her friend isn't available. how do you think this is perceived by the other kids?

i would also sign her up to as many lunchtime activities as you possibly can. what is on at your school? get her busy. the lunchtime play break is WAY too long for girls imo - problems waiting to happen. (boys seem fine and all run around/play football as a group)

SarfEasticatedMumma Fri 15-May-15 14:51:34

When I got home last night, she said that her teacher had spoken to them about expanding their friendships and that they are going to spend Tuesday and Friday lunch times playing with other friends! hoorah!

It actually sounds to me like they are booking each other in to play dates for these lunchtimes, as DD has a plan of who she will play with today and next week.

I think the problem has been that they are so embedded in their 'exclusive' BFF pairings that they don't feel able to intrude and play with each other any more, this will hopefully open up all of their lives a bit.

Thanks everyone smile

TeddTess Fri 15-May-15 18:51:43

that sounds great. keep encouraging the other friendships though, best friends are fine as long as it is within a bigger group of friends who play together imo.

Millymollymama Fri 15-May-15 19:16:47

Glad to see the school recognises the problem and is being proactive.

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