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Is it U for my 6yr old to never see his classmates outside of school?

45 replies

IUseAnyName · 15/07/2015 18:11

My son is in a small school, with only 9 in his class.
He plays with one other boy in the class but struggles with the other kids due to various reasons.
We don't have any play dates out of school and never meet up with other families due to difference of interests.

Is it U for my son not to see school friends outside of school?

In fact, he doesn't see any kids his age outside of school! We have been in the area for nearly a year, and tbh I am struggling with making friends with likeminded interests who also have children and live close by.
We are a very active family and spend most evenings after school out biking or walking or kayaking, but none of the other families are in to that, so we just do it as a family of 4. But I feel guilty that my ds should be having friends outside of school?

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Tanfastic · 15/07/2015 18:18

I expect you'll get a mixed response. My seven year old doesn't see his friends out of school either however he does go to Beavers once a week and all that is associated with that (trips, camp etc) and has a swimming lesson once a week.

Weekends are normally busy with family stuff and we work full time so play dates would be difficult to arrange anyway. I don't think my ds misses out.


Goldenbear · 15/07/2015 18:24

I think it probably is but obviously it depends on your son's preferences. My DS is 8 and very good friends with a boy who never socialises outside of school and never has any birthday parties. The parents are very nice, polite people when they do talk to you - like for instance when he got dropped off at a play farm for my son's party the other week but back at the school gates they revert to not talking to you again. One of the other friend's Mothers tried to befriend the parents and have the child around but they told her that they have 'enough friends' so they don't tend to bother.

It seems unfair on the boy as he's really keen to come over to mine but they would probably make an excuse and it would definitely never be reciprocated. As he's got older it is starting to come across as 'odd' and I think it is ultimately going to isolate him until he's old enough to go out on his own.

I am a very private person and do not relish the idea of DC's friends coming to play but I think it's a vital part of development and crucial for social competence later on in life. I therefore suck it up.


FlamingoPleated · 15/07/2015 18:24

It depends on all your family's personalities. We do a huge amount of socialising but that is because that's what we (I) enjoy. IF you're all happy with it then sounds fine. But are you slightly wishing you could make more local friends?


IUseAnyName · 15/07/2015 18:25

Thanks, yeah I'm currently looking at beavers/cubs for him, which he can start in september.

We don't meet up with any other families or children on the weekend either, this makes me worry that my son is lacking?

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msgrinch · 15/07/2015 18:29

It's odd to me but I think yanbu as it's an individual choice. We live in a small village and have done for years, the kids were in toddler group, nursery and now school together and we live in flats alongside some of his friends families. Plus I love socialising etc and am friends with most of his friends mums. As he gets older he'll go out with his friends more so I wouldn't worry. You could always invite one of dcs friends along to one of the activities you enjoy if you fancied.


PavlovtheCat · 15/07/2015 18:31

I think it varies, depending on individual families. DD and DS have someone around every few weeks or so, and go to visit every few weeks or so. I probably should make more effort as they keep asking!

But, a class of 9 children makes that much harder to do if the other parents are not too concerns about it. I do know that in my DDs class, 7 of the children are part of the same cub group, with a good few starting at Beavers, so I do think it's a great idea to do that, as he will either form closer friendships with those in his class who go, or (and also) develop new friends.

6 is still quite young in terms of socialising. DD didn't want to socialise that much/had not gelled with that many children enough for me to have many playdates after school, it became more frequent in the last two years I would say. But, I'm quite reserved at the school gates, took me a while to become friendly enough with the parents to invite them around (I always ask them in for coffee on the first visit so they know where their children are visiting/a bit about us).


Goldenbear · 15/07/2015 18:31

However, saying that, it is definitely the 'norm' at DS's school to have endless social meet ups, whether that is playing in the park opposite the school and having a cake at the park cafe, a child coming around to play or even regularly playing on the beach as one of DS's friends has a beach hut that he gets invited to in the summer. The family will do barbecues and I sometimes join DS and this family with my DD. I know plenty of schools where the social side of things is not the same at all and the 'norm' is just to get picked up and go home.


IUseAnyName · 15/07/2015 18:37

I do wish I could makemore local friends! With children of a similar age to my son! And similar interests.
I like to socialise, and I went to a couple of house parties at christmas organised by school parents, I also go to school events and happily chat with other parents of son's class..... but most of the time, even at the school events, it ends up with kids running crazy and the parents having had too much to drink. Which isn't really my cup of tea.
From what I gather, the ones who are around on the weekends tend to prefer to meet up in the pub beer garden, or local soft play or farm, depending on weather. But I never go as I don't want to waste our weekend in these places when we could be out exploring somewhere, for free!
I have suggested meet ups at local lake on hot days for a swim/paddle, or bike rides or walks in local woods but it never materialises.

I just have different interests to those around me, but I wonder whether I am BU on my son. But I always think that he'd rather be out on his bike with his family, than in a soft play with his classmates. Or have I got it all wrong?

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PavlovtheCat · 15/07/2015 18:40

iuse see that's part of the problem, you don't want to socialise with them as you don't like what they do, farms are good, and soft play is fun for the children, even if not for you. And remember it's about socialising your DS. Once you have been a few times, and developed friendly links with the other parents, you could suggest meeting and doing what you enjoy doing one time. It may be that they never thought of it, or didn't realise what you like could be so fun, might be just what they are used to.


PavlovtheCat · 15/07/2015 18:42

My DS (5) loves being out in the woods. he loves swimming, climbing rocks, going to the beach, exploring nature.

he also loves going to the beer garden with some friends and playing in the bushes and making camps, running about (there are swings/slide and a hidden 'den' in our local one though), and he also loves soft play. it's not an either/or. he likes both things depending on what's on offer at the time.

But, tbh, what he enjoys most is playing with his friends, so as long as he has opportunity to socialise, he's happy (not always with school friends though, he does rugby practise, swimming lessons, we have friends with children of various ages, he has a bigger sister).


IUseAnyName · 15/07/2015 18:44

I think so pav.

I just keep pining back to our old life when he had lots of friends in and out of school due to toddler groups, and we'd all meet up and do something outdoorsy.

The people around here aren't the same, I do have to work harder for my son

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PavlovtheCat · 15/07/2015 18:51

I am not naturally outgoing. people often think I am as I am friendly and smiley and chatty, but I have to make an extra effort to do so, and I have forced myself out of my comfort zone in order to socialise with the parents to enable the children to socialise. However, by doing this, I have actually made some good friends, it's taken time and I didn't try to make friends particular, just be friendly and try to muscle in on meet ups, it happened naturally, but with some bold steps by me (not bold for other people, but definitely for me).

if it were just up to me, and I didn't consider the needs of the children, I would quite happily have gone straight home with them, and never have anyone over. That's why we don't socialise weekly as I just am no good at being sociable that often!


RachelRagged · 15/07/2015 18:52

I don't think you ABU

When I was six I mixed with perhaps 2 girls outside of school and not a lot or often as I lived further away than school friends due to a move. I used to mix/play with the girls who lived on the same street I did, or at least the closest few streets. They all went to the local school but even they, on the whole, mixed with the kids from the street and not school


PavlovtheCat · 15/07/2015 18:54

Are there other clubs around in the local area - beavers yes, how about football or rugby, other clubs or groups that have a social aspect - the rugby club that DD and DS go to (at 6, literally just team skills and running about until september, then it's tag rugby) have fundraising events, post match BBQs and meet ups, over the last few weeks we have had spontaneous BBQs after practise and it's introduced the children to new people and me to their parents. And even if they don't socialise outside of those clubs and additional meet ups from it, they are still socialising outside of school.


justonemorethread · 15/07/2015 18:55

I'm sorry but to me it comes across a little bit as you not wanting to be flexible. I don't particularly enjoy farms, for example, but iif it was the only chance for my dc to occasionally socilase I might suck it up every now and then.
I don't think you have to worry that your child will turn on to a beer swilling slob just because evry now and then he pzrtakew in something other than healthy outdoor activities.
I am sure he loves all the hiking and biking, but at so, he may well be sending your disapproval of the other activities, and pretend for your sake that he doesn't enjoy them ad much as he (secretely) might.

My dds have friends with families of which dome have completely different interests, just because the children get on doesn't mean you have to become best friends with the parents?
I would suggest try going along to a few events with hood grace, then once you've ingratiated yourself a bit organise an outdoorsy picnic with some sort of fun kids forest walk or something attached. You'll find of your're proactive (or bossy!) About it that people generally like an organised activity. Good luck! It is hard settling in to a new community, I know from repeated experience...


justonemorethread · 15/07/2015 18:56

Wow, sorry about all the typos, I cannot see what I am typing until posting on this phone!


justonemorethread · 15/07/2015 18:58

Oh just one more thing, I would definitely not include paddling or boating or water based activities of you do organise something, it might surprise you bit it can be daunting to some parents of younger children.


Moresmores · 15/07/2015 19:01

Also other parents might find hiking and biking difficult if they have lots of children or much younger ones. At 6 I'm guessing many of his classmates still have toddler siblings which maybe why they choose soft play.


IUseAnyName · 15/07/2015 19:05

Thanks justonemore

I know I am thinking about me too much, but I spend most weekends on my own with the kids as dh works away and it would be nice to meet up with people I also have something in common with.

But you're right, I should tag along to their meet ups and go from there. It's just so daunting.

I too am not very outgoing and get allnervous when I have to chat to people and have no idea what to talk about!

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Moresmores · 15/07/2015 19:05

Not sure where I got 6 from sorry - how old is he?


youarekiddingme · 15/07/2015 19:06

Guess it depends on how your DS feels about it?

My DS doesn't see his friends outside of school (class of 32) but doesn't really want to.mhe goes to a swimming club and socialises there to an extent or a very limited circle of my friends and their children. He has ASD and is not bothered by this. I would onlh worry or seek to change it if he was.

Maybe look at ymca website as perhaps you could join them and kayak, bike etc as a family with like minded families.


IUseAnyName · 15/07/2015 19:08

he's 6 in sept :)

Thanks for advice youare will look in to it :)

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Spartans · 15/07/2015 19:14

Dd only sees her school friends, outside school, if they are staying over at eachothers house and she is 11.

Ds doesn't but he is only 4. They do however go to kick boxing twice a week and both have lots of friends there that spend time with at comps and activities.

They also have a cousin who spends a lot of time here. I not the most comfortable at making friends, so we all started kick boxin together. They made frienda and so did I.


UniS · 15/07/2015 19:14

Soft play is daunting for you, a bike ride with 5 yr olds is daunting to other people.

You need to do some things in your community to feel part of your community.


IUseAnyName · 15/07/2015 19:26

Thanks everyone. i
I have a 1yr old too and she comes out on a bike seat or in a rucksack carrier. But maybe I've gotten so used to doing these things, and had many friends in old location who did these things with me, that I don't see them as daunting. But can understand why others might be.

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