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Books/resources to help 5 year old with emotions

(9 Posts)
Greydiddi Fri 24-Feb-17 20:11:09

Hi everyone

I was just wondering if anyone had good recommendations for any books/resources/out of school activities to help my DS cope better with school? He is about to turn 5 but is I think fairly immature emotionally for his age and is struggling with aspects of school, particularly playtime.

The main issue seems to be that his best friend for the last 4 years is excluding him from his old friendship group - there is quite a bit of whispered name calling/saying DS has no friends by this boy and encouraging other children to call my DS names/not play with him if my DS is trying to play with another child. DS seems to react initially by roaring ( pretending he is a dinosaur) but then if it continues ( or sometimes even if it doesn't) he will push/pull someone 5 minutes later and get into trouble.

His teacher is lovely and the situation seems not too bad in the classroom but is not good in the playground. Some of this is also initiated by my DS as well - particularly in a big group he will sometimes push someone if he gets a bit upset/doesn't get his way. So the situation with his old friends is difficult for him ( and makes me so sad - he often cries about it at night ) but I think at least some of it isn't helped by how he behaves. He is popular with other children but can't seem to make the move to play with them instead.

I have spoken to school about the situation with the other boy, but I feel like there is only so much they can do in the playground ( particularly as the name calling is often whispered). I'd really like to try and help DS deal with things better as I don't think the school can really resolve this.

Sorry that was very long but I was just wondering if anyone could recommend any good books or even activities that I could maybe read/take him to that might help him learn to express and manage his emotions better and maybe make him more secure in himself?

Didiplanthis Fri 24-Feb-17 20:21:48

Watching with interest- I just posted about my 5 yr old ds's struggles only his seem to be at home but are much worse in term time so guess school involved somewhere in it. I'm feeling really low about it all tonight but thank you for posting as although it's horrible any of them are having a tough time at least I know it's not just mine being challenging. Hope someone has some constructive advice for you soon.

Greydiddi Fri 24-Feb-17 20:51:42

Hi didi we also have some issues at home, but less so. It is hard isn't it - I really struggle with it too. I hope things pick up for you too.

mrz Sat 25-Feb-17 05:33:41

Stories for feelings for children
How do you feel today

There's a book called How to be a friend which might be useful

Embolio Sat 25-Feb-17 05:56:01

Also going through similar with my DS, except playground stuff has been physical at times. So upsetting and worrying- ds is not 5 until the end of June so also emotionally immature compared to others in his class and finds it hard to articulate feelings.

I would be expecting the school to at least be doing some circle time/general discussions on kindness/friendships and not standing by if someone is upset. They are so young still.

We've actually just taken the decision to move decisively to a nearby school with a more caring ethos. Playground and classroom atmosphere visibly different when we visited and teachers on top of behaviour. Kids will be kids, of course, but at that age they need to be supervised effectively!

Good luck!

Embolio Sat 25-Feb-17 05:57:36

Ha! Move ds that should say (although I was decisive in the end! wink)

Greydiddi Sun 26-Feb-17 14:35:16

Thanks everyone - will try the suggested books.

Hope the new school goes well embolio

BigWeald Mon 27-Feb-17 10:17:06

IMO it's too big an ask to expect four and five year olds to deal with this kind of situation by themselves. Which is one of the key problems of starting school at such a young age, IMO. The difference in 'social maturity' between the children can be huge, and teachers are limited in their ability to supervise interactions, inside and especially outside of the classroom. Some of the more 'socially developed' children will take advantage of the relative naivety of others, will manipulate and bully them and get away with it, because the 'younger' ones are in over their heads.

'Building resilience' and working on managing feelings is fine and important but there is a danger too: That your DS learns that it is normal and ok for people to behave terribly towards him and the solution is to be found within himself. It is true that he is responsible for his own behaviour BUT it is also important that he learns that the other people's behaviour is not ok. Otherwise he may end up with very low self-worth - if he is not even worth being treated with respect, and the only reaction of the adults around him is to tell him to manage his feelings better e.g. to learn to accept being treated like that.

I agree with PP that you should absolutely discuss this with the teacher. Your child needs support with this and there are things the school can do. You should at least try to get them to help. It may only need a few days worth of someone keeping a close eye on your DS during break times to break the pattern. Discussing friendships in circle time can help too - maybe it won't change the 'friend's attitude (he's more of a bully than a friend really!) but it may stop the other children from going along.

My own DS started hating school for this reason, when he is actually a very academically minded child and well suited to the classroom environment. But there were break times, lunch, and in reception lots of minimally supervised 'free play' during school hours, and a bully.
The school did help to an extent after I brought it up with the teacher. Broke the cycle, and we did lots of work at home to try to prevent the cycle being re-established.

What we did at home:
- Carefully listened to DS to find out what was the root of the hurt, and to allow him to express his feelings.
- Discussed strategies, and practised them at home in role play, for avoiding getting into those situations that tended to end badly; and for dealing with them if they arose anyway. This mainly involved looking for other children to play with, to avoid being rejected; and to have somewhere else to go if having been rejected (Determining who exactly to go to is important. It's a lot easier to 'walk away TO someone' than simply to 'walk away').
- Clueing DS up to not believe everything the 'bully' said and giving him the words and means to decline 'deals' the other boy offered (such as 'if you let me have your place in the line, my mum will buy you a Lego after school' which was of course not true but DS needed to be learn that some people don't mean what they say, and needed to be taught a way to say 'no')
- Making it crystal clear to DS that the other boy's behaviour was not ok and that he had every right to 'tell a grown up' whenever something happened.

It wasn't easy. Essentially DS had to learn to never seek out the other boy (because the other boy invariably used any such occasion as an opportunity to either manipulate or hurt DS) and to walk away/find his real friends whenever the other boy approached him.

This resulted in DS finding new, and very good friends smile Two years later, the situation between the two boys is still tense, but they are now both mature enough to manage it. Basically they move in different circles which is a shame because they would have much in common. I think things tend to become easier towards the end of reception because the children settle into a social hierarchy within the class. Once it is established who the 'leaders' are and who usually plays with who, there is less tension and less need for anyone to establish superiority or something by putting someone else down. (In hindsight, this could be a good reason for deferring reception entry - let your child start after most of that social rustling and place marking is over.)

Greydiddi Mon 27-Feb-17 13:28:44

Thank you so much big, you have completely hit the nail on the head with my worries and what is happening - my DS is also more socially immature but actually quite suited to a classroom ( he likes rules and teacher praise) and his problem is the playground and free flow time too. I have spoken to his teacher and she has done the group chat and keeps an eye on it in the classroom - with the result that things are massively improved there. The problem remains at breaks, and - I know that this other child is only a 5 year old boy too - but he does seem quite clever at hiding it ( I have witnessed the whispering and he does seem to deliberately do it when he thinks no one is looking/ behind a pillar etc and to then not admit to things). Plus as DS seems to have a delayed reaction I can see how the stretched TAs would have more difficulty. Also i get the impression the TA is slightly less motivated to help than his teachers if I'm honest. We have the added complication that this is the child of family friends and a near neighbour.

I will definitely try your at home strategies so many thanks for those - and for understanding!

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