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Do You Worry About Your Child Making Friends?

Roo was quiet when I picked her up from school yesterday, last night she cried for an hour for my mum.  Words poured from her mouth like ‘my heart will crack if I don’t see my nanmar’.   My heart hurt for her that I couldn’t fix what she wanted last night other than to offer a phone call to nanmar so they could say good night.  Tonight when  I picked her up from school she said in the car, ‘no one played with me today mummy’.

This made me sad.  She’s the oldest in her class other than one other little girl who we had for a playdate last week and I am worried that she may be feeling left out and struggling to form friendships with children younger than her.  She seems to be gravitating towards the older children in full time reception who the two classes occasionally join up with but they don’t do free play together.

I asked her today what she tried to join in with and she said she asked one of the boys if she could play in the castle with him.  He told her no and to go away.  Roo is a sensitive child, she doesn’t like change and loves her routine, she avoids loud noises and noisy places and like me wears her heart on her sleeve – I can see many incidents in the future of tears over emotions and being open with people as she is already that type of child where she wants to know everyone and help others.  At school she will look after the children if they are upset and she always looks for approval from her peers in things she does.

She went on to tell me that no one would let her join their games today, so in the end she simply went and sat on the beanbags lying down and imagined about friendship and playing with a best friend.  It struck me how poignant this was for a four year old to think about and inwardly a little worried about my child making friends.

I will do everything I can to help her integrate,  have parties, playdates, sleepovers and all those fun things that seem to go on at school now but deep down I am wondering if maybe I should mention it to the teachers at parent’s evening this week and see if they have noticed her withdrawing at all with her friends or being excluded.  Maybe they could do some group on feelings and friendships in class.

Has anyone else experienced worry or concern over their child making friends at school or in social situations?  I’d love to know how you dealt with it.

7 thoughts on “Do You Worry About Your Child Making Friends?

  1. You have just described my 6 year old and her experience at school. Her teacher told me as she’s the oldest she is very mature so finds it hard to be friends with other younger kids and also gravitates towards older children in other years. Strangely she just got voted class captain by classmates so she’s liked but doesn’t have a best buddy,
    Playdates haven’t helped much but classes outside of school have. She’s made friends here with different aged children that we have playdates with. Still breaks my heart when she says she stands with playground assistant at lunch and doesn’t have a best friend.

  2. I think school initially is so hard – south to take in and the dynamics of friendships and social on top. I found in first term they stick to the kids they know. Now I see my son spreading his wings a bit. I would speak to the teacher. School should be a positive experience. My sons school has a friendship charter which the child are asked to commit to. Bullying stuff but also sharing and including. They have older kids responsible to sitting with those that might be feeling left out. And a bench you can sit on if your feeling lonely. So helpers can spot you. Maybe Roos school has that and she needs some support. X that little boy could do with reading friendship charter!

  3. I hear you! I’ve only just realised that my son is highly sensitive! Someone recommended “The Highly Sensitive Child” If you haven’t read it. Get it. Was the best piece of advice anyone has given me was to read that book. (A word of warning about it though it is VERY American in places! You’ll see what I mean some suggestions are ludicrous – take your child off school every so often…)

    My son now 4 and now in reception likes routine, hates noise, doesn’t take risks, dislikes parties, hates change, has ridiculous tantrums which seem like over reactions… (Sound familiar?) Anyway! Read the book and I began to understand a lot better. He feels things deeply he is not “shy” which we and others kept saying. I find a lot of it difficult because I am not sensitive (I always feel the need to say the opposite of sensitive is non sensitive not insensitive!)

    I bet advice of others who parent only outgoing kids are full of annoying advice which won’t work at all aren’t they?! I actually went into one about it and write a long guest blog post on a mums site. Longest one on there I think!

    So, my son started nursery, took forever to settle him, always the last parent to go for the first two terms. I am not a believer in leaving a crying child unless you know that they stop as soon as you leave. I only did it eventually day 2 at reception and it was awful and I told them to contact me if it didn’t stop v quickly! He took a while to make friends. All the kids seem to like him (he’s a nice kid Heaven alone knows where he got the genes from!) but yes took ages. I became friends with 2 parents and the kids got to play together outside nursery a lot so when he started school (attached to the school) he had friends. he doesn’t have “a” best friend. All his friends are “best” There are 5 of them. 3 of them he sees a lot of outside school.

    We have a park right next to the school so most days we all go to the park after school. Are you able to do that? She is obviously well liked otherwise she wouldn’t be voted as she has so it’s odd that she isn’t playing the playground with the kids. My son does and either they play in the group of them or he flits as do they all. As do most kids at their age too. Very few really have a best friend that remains best throughout their school life, I shouldn’t worry about that.

    I’d get friendly with some parents and whose children you like and try and arrange playdates. If your daughter is like my son then where she goes you go…! But that’s ok, you develop relationships with the mothers and the kids develop together too. It’s really helped with us. The group are all so different, one is sensitive like my son and that’s helpful too because the mother understands and as I’m sure you have found that’s really important not being told “make him do it make him do it”. The mother of the other sensitive child said to me some months ago “In his own time…” which we apply to so much.

    As for the school. Yes you do mention it. As someone who has worked for over 25 years in children’s services and a mother of a sensitive child (yes I know I should have realised my child was sensitive but I’ve been in management for many years, sensitive wasn’t a word used when I did face to face work!!) I would advise just raising your concerns. Don’t be worried about her not having a best friend. Ask how she is in the classroom and playing. Ask what techniques they use to encourage children to make new friends. Ask how they meet her individual needs. Ask for suggestions on what you should do.

    I’m so sorry, that’s longer than your blog post!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel passionately about the issue though! Hope something is helpful there!!!!
    Helen Dewdney recently posted..Can We Really Trust the BBC to Bring us Real Experts?My Profile

  4. Aww I feel for Roo. Isaac has lost his group of friends as none of them managed to get a place in his school. Now he doesn’t want to go in and every Morning is a fight and when I ask who he has played with he says no one.
    I have spoken to his teacher who just complains that he often plays up for attention, but she doesn’t seem to help him.
    We have parents evening next week and I am definitely speaking up again!!

  5. All the time. This post grabbed me from the start. As I struggle, I constantly worry about Dexter. But then his dad is a real socialite so maybe he’ll get the best of both worlds xx

    Like you say – perhaps arranging social occassions will give her the opportunity to mix with the other kids, I’m dreading this. I do think it’s a little harder with girls for some reason. Football is a real ice breaker and boys just tend to ‘get on with it’ x
    Gemma Mills / Chamberlain recently posted..Mummy Mugshot: Dexter’s first Firework DisplayMy Profile

  6. I often worry about my son, who has been at home in tears on many an occasion saying that he doesn’t have any friends and no-one wants to play with him. I raised it with his teacher who was genuinely shocked as she said he is always playing with someone. Sometimes I think it is their insecurity coming through so I just try to bolster him up at home and up the number of play dates. At the moment he is fine, but I know we’ll have another wobble soon. Hopefully it’s just a blip for Roo. xx

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