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Ds close to tears over lack of playmates at breaktime

(22 Posts)
billynomatesmum Thu 22-Oct-09 11:45:54

Ds almost broke down at bedtime as I was reading a chapter from an old fashioned story where someone was taught at home in a schoolroom with a governess. I explained this concept to him and he immediately asked if he too could be taught at home and said he has had a lot of bad days recently when he wanted to play with others but they said no.

The girls apparently want to play "fashion games" whatever they are but they do sound completely girly and no wonder they wouldn't be interested in including ds.

The boys apparently play football and that's it. One boy who is very charismatic and good at football chooses both teams although the team captains do change regularly. Ds is unco-ordinated, he's 7 and still hasn't got the hang of scootering quickly/safely, only just had the stabilisers removed from his bike a few months ago. He can't keep up with his classmates when they have running races in the playground.

HOWEVER he wants to join in and run around just like any other child but tells me he often just sits by the wall instead. It sounds like he just wants to be included and play without being sidelined as useless. He doesn't care so much about his performance he just wants to join in. (Light bulb going on here also at why he seems to be getting a little pudgy recently, perhaps he isn't exercising at breaks as much as other children).

He has no problems in the classroom, merely at breaktimes. I feel guilty because I work fulltime and he can't invite kids home for tea, I have tried weekend invites but parents aren't keen as it interrupts their family time.

Any suggestions ?

titchy Thu 22-Oct-09 12:02:10

Other than football is there a latest fad inthe playground? Football or Pokemon cards? Go-gos? I have a ds who is totally uninterested in football, but is recognised as the pokemon card master hmm and is getting to be quite popular as a result. Is there something else he could take in like lego, which will attract others to him?

madamearcati Thu 22-Oct-09 12:22:19

So are the boys stopping him from joining in ?

Uriel Thu 22-Oct-09 12:33:40

Makes your heart break, doesn't it? sad

Tell him to look again at the kids in the playground. I bet there's more than just your son who's a bit lonely.

He could keep an eye out for the girls who don't fit in with the girly games, too.
My dd went through this and now has a little circle of friends who like running about pretending to be horses hmmgrin.

Mousey84 Thu 22-Oct-09 12:36:20

I second titchy - dd was struggling for friends so I taught her some games - you know the ones with clapping and rhymes, and some skipping rhymes. It showed she had something to offer. They were useful for a week, but now, by the sounds of it she plays "fairies " every day with an assortment of girls.

Be careful not to let him take treasured toys in. If it goes pear shaped he may not see them again (obv dont say that!)

ComeOveneer Thu 22-Oct-09 12:39:31

Speak to his teacher about this. At dd's old infant school they had a "Buddy bench", were children would go and sit if they had no-one to play with, then either the teachers or the playground monitors (year 2's) would help them find a game to join in with.

notnowbernard Thu 22-Oct-09 12:47:38

Was also just going to mention Buddy Bench (or similar) smile

It's what they use at dd's school. If a child is feeling lonely/sad/left out they sit on it and nominated 'buddies' go over and invite them to play (I think the Y1 and Y2 children take turns being 'buddies')

There is also a 'quiet area' of the playground specifically for those that want to play on their own, or read, or just sit and talk. Apparently it works very well

I'd ask what strategies they use at DS's school, I think. Good luck to your DS smile

billynomatesmum Thu 22-Oct-09 12:51:25


the KS1 level kids are strongly discouraged from taking stuff like that in as it leads to disagreements over lost stuff or mixed up stuff and ownership getting muddled.

There was a girl who wasn't so girly but she moved away, in fact thinking about it both of the girls more likely to play more varied games have moved away.

We live outside of the catchment area so he misses out a little bit as far as being within the local community, although he is not the only one not living close to the school.

I have put his name down, at his request, for the football club which one of the teacher's husbands is going to start running, in the hope that if he learns more about football he might fit in better. There is a local under 10's football training/team that many of the other boys attend on Sunday mornings but this clashes with other commitments for us.

Perhaps we should use half-term (will have time off from work) to invite several different class mates over for the afternoon.
He does have 2 friends that he is most keen on but sometimes they just want to play together without him, they don't intend to be mean, they're only 6 but ds is very thin-skinned when it comes to feeling left out.

LB29 Thu 22-Oct-09 14:48:33

I think out of school clubs are a brilliant idea. My DD did have problems before but after speaking to her teacher it turned out that she was exagerating and did have friends so only left out sometimes. She has started dance classes and this seems to be helping her to cement some of her friendships. Could he start cubs? Normally the meets are after school but it is a good way to make friend without being completely sporty. Good luck!

Acanthus Thu 22-Oct-09 14:50:25

Try not to overreact, too, it's a phase most of them go through

foxinsocks Thu 22-Oct-09 14:52:47

what childcare are you using that he can't have people to play?

you can also have people to play on the weekend if you want

Mallenstreak Thu 22-Oct-09 16:09:35

I sympathise as my son has had similar problems.He hates football and the girls obviously don't want to play with him. Best thing would be to mention it to the teacher as I'm sure they will have encountered this before. My son has made some friends but still often tells me he walks around at lunch asking people to play with him -heartbreaking!

Blu Thu 22-Oct-09 16:15:18

Would you be able to switch to a form of childcare where he could see friends after school? or maybe there is a parent of a child he gets on with who would pick him up once a week in turn for some w/e babysitting from you?

nigelslaterfan Thu 22-Oct-09 16:31:54

I would go straight in and talk to the school and ask their advice in a friendly way, say that he is not wanting to go to school and has been in tears about it. That is an important aspect of SEAL
Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning and if you discreetly mention that you are concerned about the knock on effect for his education a good school should have some ideas.
e.g could teachers intervene a bit in the fascist football games?
(a real bugbear of mine, we have one boy that is way too dominant in ds's year but the teachers all worshio him and will have nothing said against him...)
do they have friendship benches?
We have them all over the playground for anyone who wants someone to play with and they are widely used and I believe are not seen as embarrassing to use.
Maybe the teacher could talk about inclusion?
Have you looked at the school';s bullying policy, that might give you ideas, you are entitiled to see it, ask at the office.
I've often wondered why you couldn't have a system of breaking up entrenched groups of friends with occasional organised games, maybe mixing some seniors with juniors and just changing the dynamics a bit. I think our dinner ladies are too hands off really.
Sorry for ranting, good luck, there's nothing more painful than your child's pain is t here?

choccyp1g Thu 22-Oct-09 16:43:52

At DS school they only allow football on certain days and have sometimes temporarily "disallowed" some of the boisterous games. I gather it is for the reason nsfan suggests; it makes the children look around for something else to do, someone else to play with, instead of it just being the "in-crowd" hogging the space and others hanging round the fringes.

The football club is a also good idea, if it is like any we have been to, they do a lot of different activities, that do build up football skills, but also give everyone a chance to join in equally.

nigelslaterfan Sat 24-Oct-09 19:17:39

OP, How have things been with your ds?
I hope things are better.

billynomatesmum Mon 26-Oct-09 14:24:10

nsf I found your post in particular very informative and together with choccyp1g's useful in formulating a plan of action for after half-term but don't want to post details of the plan in case someone from school is MN'er and puts 2 and 2 together. (My posting name is an alias, not my regular MN name).

Acanthus I am firmly in the camp of "trying not to overreact", hoping that this is a phase that will pass. If I'm honest though ds is unlikely to be the cool kid during his school life, he is a follower rather than a leader but has a couple of specifics that can lead to teasing. One child has apparently already called him a "weirdo" and he is soooooo normal really. He's happy following the group and doesn't need to be in charge to be happy. I just want him to be allowed to follow along with the herd if that's what he wants. He'll eventually know, like all of us, when he has reached a stage in life such that he wants to do his own thing but right now he really wants to just be one of the crowd.

foxinsocks we use an after school club which he is very happy at and it is totally dependable which I need it to be for work purposes. Blu I note your suggestion and it does form part of a longer term plan when certain things happen in the future, it's just not possible right now. If I could get him an after-school place with one of the local childminders who already have some of his classmates it would maybe strengthen relationships through familiarity.

We are spending time with a few of his nice friendly classmates on a one-to-one basis this half-term. I hate the "playdate" terminology but that's effectively what we are doing. I deliberately haven't invited more than one child over at a time as I find threesomes can be tricky.

Thanks to everyone for advice posted so far.

thehairybabysmum Mon 26-Oct-09 14:35:55

Sounds like you've had lots of good suggestions. Can you maybe re-prioritise your sunday am comittment for now to get him into the football club and then hopefully over this phase.

billynomatesmum Mon 26-Oct-09 16:01:44


I have thought about this but the Sunday a.m. commitment can't be switched to another time, it's an activity that we had to wait a long time to get a place in the class and ds really enjoys it and it is good for him in many ways.

He would not choose to go to the U10's football instead of the existing activity and if he did we'd be back on the waiting list again for who knows how long to get a space at another time.

Chandon Mon 26-Oct-09 18:43:31

Hello,I sympathise, this sort of stuff is heartbreaking!

I have started taking my 6 yr old DS to football class once a week, as he is no natural, but it makes life so much easier for boys if they can play a bit of football.

Also, sport is good for them.

Secondly, it may not be as bad as it sounds. My DS once told me this heartbreaking story of having no friends, and that week I needed to drop something of at school and spotted him playing quite happily.

He will find a friend, maybe he already has. Organising playdates occasionaly does help as well.

Watchtheworldcomealivetonight Mon 26-Oct-09 18:53:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Watchtheworldcomealivetonight Mon 26-Oct-09 18:56:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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