a relaxed 4 year old school boy

Making friends and making an effort at school

I’ve said before, N is quite oblivious to the whole making friends thing.  I don’t know if it’s a boy thing or whether he’s just better at being friends with one person at a time.

What I’ve always noticed, and been told from his old nurseries, is that he’s happy enough playing on his own, but that he does often have others coming over to play with him.

He will join in playing with a couple of people, and will get really involved in their play.  I used to watch him at nursery when I picked up, and he’d be involved in some role play or imaginative play with a friend or two.  And at after school club, while he’s sometimes sitting on his own and playing or watching something, often he’ll be playing some game or adventure with (usually) the girl who lives across the road from us.

At school he’s been telling me since he started, that he only ever plays with his best friend L.  While it’s great that they’re such good friends, N can get a bit annoyed sometimes when he wants to be on his own and I’m trying to teach him how he can be nice while saying he needs time out.  And I’m also worried that if he’s pushed away all his old nursery friends, and isn’t bothered about making other new friends, how stuck he might be next year if the 2 of them end up being split into the 2 different year 1 classes.

The teacher has noticed that sometimes they need time apart, so they’re split up into different groups when they do group work, and at lunch times, although they’re in the same house team, they sit at different tables.

I’ve tried suggesting that N should invite other children to come and play with them, and to ask to play with other children as well.  I don’t think general playground is a problem because when all the children turn up at school in the mornings, they all just drop their book bags and start running round together.  It’s more when there’s specific play in their playground or free flow.

After we had our chat one evening about who plays with who at school, I was so proud when N came home the next day saying that he had played with lots of other children that day.

‘What did you play?’

‘I asked some children if they wanted to play my game, and they said yes.  I played with C, D, H, L….’

‘Wow, that is a lot of people. That was lovely of you to invite them to play.  Was it good fun?’

‘Yes.  C and J didn’t want to play because they were doing something else.  And L was playing with M. But that’s ok’.

So his first effort at trying to get a group together to play went well.  And he didn’t seem upset that some children didn’t want to play his game.

a relaxed 4 year old school boy

Hopefully even if he doesn’t do that all the time, N will realise that it’s fun to play with big groups as well as just one friend.  And maybe that will mean other people will start inviting him and his friend to play as well, seeing them as more approachable.

Does your child find it easy to reach out and make friends? Do they tend to play in groups or with single friends?

Linking up to Ordinary Moments over at What the Redhead Said this week.

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  1. School is such a learning development for them isn’t it? I remember being in that same position myself, but it sounds like he is doing really well socially and friendship wise. My little girl is completely oblivious too everything, she is apparently friends with everyone and she goes to a tiny school where she plays with a lot of older kids. She only started in September and all seems to be going great so far but I do worry that one day she might see the harsher end of friendships- I think that is inevitable in childhood, especially in girls.

    1. That’s good that she’s getting stuck in especially with the older children. I remember you had hard decisions to make around offer time?. N’s school have a reception playground although they do have the occasional older child come in to play games with them, and before school they all run riot in the playground. Sometimes it just takes time to bed in and get used to people.

  2. It sounds like he’s made a massive step in his social skills. My daughter loves having friends, but needs to learn how to be nice when she needs time out too. It’s still a work in progress

  3. Making new friends can be a really daunting thing no matter what age. In a few years he could be inviting the whole class to his birthday parties haha x

  4. My eldest use to be the same , only playing with the one friend and liking to be on her own. She was an only child so she loved being on her own, but as she got a little older and soon started playing with lots of other’s and now has a big group of friends ( she is 13 now) xx

  5. My daughter is in her second year of primary. For the first month of first year she didn’t really play with anyone, she would barely talk to anyone, and I was really worried for her. She soon became friends with a girl in her class who also lives close to us, and they became inseparable and did everything as a twosome.
    I did worry for a little while that they relied on each other a little too much, and did encourage her to try and play with more people too. Now, she’s in second year and she is still best friends with the same girl, but have noticed she talks about more friends. Just like with your boy, Caitlin’s teacher has tried to split her and her friend up for some activities because they were always together, I don’t think it helps that they are little troublemakers when they get together!

    1. Yes, I think some of it’s to keep them out of trouble. And stop them winding each other up too. It’s such a shame that his old nursery friends that he was such good friends with before have now been dropped and they’ve mixed really well. I’m sad about that.

  6. My daughter has friends but she sometimes struggles. She tells me at times she is different (skin colour) and it sometimes has an impact on her self esteem- especially when she is sometimes teased. I’m doing my best to encourage her to love who she is and to play with the kids who are nice to her!


  7. I think it’s natural for kids to form their own little groups, especially starting out in school. It can be hard to interact with big groups & I think the same can be said for adults too. It’s wonderful that with a little encouragement from you & the school that N is reaching out to play with more kiddies x

  8. All my children are grown-ups/teenagers now, but they were little they all enjoyed the social interactions of pre-school, school and playdates – I believe kids are drawn to other kids & generally speaking flourish in the company of others.

    1. N loves school, and loves playing with others – his older cousins, and friends (at afterschool club he plays with all the others – mostly older), but at school it always seems to be his one friend. I think he’s just happier in a one to one play. Although at his party he did have all 3 of his best friends on his gator with him.

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