athomeparentingwithJoFrost2017 - 131
NOT ALL CHILDREN MAKE NEW PALS EASILY
AT SCHOOL, SO HOW CAN YOU HELP THEM
UNDERSTAND THE INGREDIENTS OF FRIENDSHIP?
or many kids, starting primary
school will be the first time
they have been separated
from their parents for a whole
day. It can prove a nerve-racking and
tiring experience as they adjust to new
surroundings away from the familiarity
of their home environment.
There will be many children who
will have no problem when it comes to
socialising with their peers, but for the
more shy and reserved child, it can be
a stressful time.
As parents, finding out your child
is not mixing well at school is a huge
worry - something 39-year-old Nicole
Simmonds knows only too well.
'When I heard that my six-year-old
daughter Lauren plays by herself and
wasn't mixing with the other children in
her class, I found it very upsetting,' she
says. 'Fortunately, Lauren never really
complained about being lonely.
'Thankfully, despite being unsociable,
Lauren's learning has not been affected.
'We suspect that her inability to form
close friends is due to a combination
of factors; firstly, she is the oldest child
in the class and because she is bright,
I wonder if perhaps she may be more
advanced than the rest of the kids.'
NO NEED FOR PRESSURE
'Lauren is also the oldest sibling of four
children so in many ways she has had to
grow up quickly,' says Nicole.
'My husband and I were determined to
have her moved up a year to see if doing
this would resolve her social issues and
give her more confidence, but we were
told this request would be refused by
our local council.
'Therefore, her teachers told us to
encourage Lauren to invite her friends
over on the weekends and during the
school holidays, but for some reason she
doesn't want to yet. After speaking with
professionals we now know that it is not
necessary at this stage to "fix something
that is not broken".'
'I do worry when I find out Lauren
is not going on playdates, but if
she is fine to play by herself for
now, rather than socialise, then
I am happy, too.'
And that's the key.
If your child is happy
'One of the most
having just the one
friend or spending a lot
of time on their own,
skills you can
there's no need to be
teach your child
concerned. It's only if
is to listen. The
they're distressed about
it that any action needs
best way to teach
to be taken.
this is to be the
If this is the case, try
example, the role
not to make too much
fuss about your child's
model for this
social circle (or lack of
and any other
it) as they may feel they
are disappointing you
- which could lead to
you are trying
more anxiety and make
the problem worse.
your worries and show
confidence that it's no big deal and the
situation will improve in time. >
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