Angelina - posted on 03/13/2015 ( 1 mom has responded )
Hi there. I just joined this forum & would like some constructive advice regarding my 5 year old kindergarten girl. She is extremely bright, a deep thinker, & has a heart of absolute gold--she's the love of my life & I just adore her.
She's in kindergarten & thriving academically--no problems there or with her behavior. My concern is her social acclimation. A thoughtful child who's often unsure of how to join in conversations & activities, she often finds herself on the outskirts of things. This upsets her & then me, of course. She has said she'd cried at recess because she had no one to play with. One time she told me she doesn't think anyone likes her at school. Naturally all this breaks my heart.
I don't believe she's treated poorly at school by peers. I volunteer weekly in her class & haven't noticed anything unusual. When we discuss things, it typically turns out that it's just her perception of people that causes her to say such things. However, there are already some cliques in her class (this isn't a negative comment but one that highlights the difficulty in joining an already-formed group).
Since she started showing signs of sensitivity at 2 years, we've had many conversations about how to join in. We've watched groups at playgrounds & dissected the dynamics. She's tried several 'join in' strategies (like all the ones you read in books/online). I've used 'bibliotherapy'--reading her books about social situations & skills. I've turned absolute negative personal statements into more positive global ones (i.e., 'No one ever wants to play with me' = 'Some times kids can have fun by themselves', etc.). She has been in tae-kwon-do & has several (fun) extra-curricular activities, including girl scouts & yoga. I try to schedule play dates as frequently as I can but they only turn out to be 1 time per week or 2 times a month (we are new to the area & therefore don't yet have a large social network). We've also talked about how to successfully handle those solitary moments (without internalizing them & basing her self-worth on them). She is praised for honest effort & true accomplishments at home & has age appropriate responsibilities/chores. To combat her self-label of 'shy & sensitive' I play up the positive aspects of such attributes. I point out her bravery when she overcomes her perceived obstacles & I applaud her (occasional) ability to be laid-back.
Honestly, I've tried all that comes to mind & that I've read. Hence, my request to this group. Are there any strategies I've overlooked? I'm not trying to change her basic nature--nope, she's completely beautiful as she is. But as I said, she is the light of my (& my husband's) life so I'm continually searching for ways to empower her & help her develop a solid self-esteem & positive social outlook. Any constructive input is thoroughly appreciated. Many thanks, Angelina