Anonymous asks:

Daughter in grade 1 is very social, but having trouble keeping a good friend.

My daughter goes to a school along ways from home and all her classmate leaves al over the city, so its hard to have play dates often.

My daughter is very social she plays with many of her classmates.  She had one very good friend last year  and a new girl started in January and slowly taken her good friend away.  Over the summer the other 2 girls became close and my daughter is left out she like playing with both girls.  I try having play dates with one girl hoping it would help, but I don't think it made any difference.  One of her classmates lives close by, but she doesn't want a play date with her. I am not comfortable leaving her with other parents at there home.
I would prefer to have other kids to my home, but kids from her class are all from well off families with nice home, car, the works and we are not.  We have no other kids her age in our area.  My husband is tooo stubbine to move, renovate, or change things around.  Any help would be appreciated.
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago



Jan 1, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

I can understand how hard it is to watch your child be excluded after having established a close bond with a neighborhood/ school friend.  

I believe you have been given sound advice from DGraab.  I wanted to add that you can find out what skills your daughter has and interest in and let her become involved in activities that are related.  For example, if she is athletic than perhaps she can join a team sport such as gymnastics, soccer or swimming. Perhaps she would enjoy classes/workshops/ activities through park and recreation programs?  Not only will she make friends outside of your immediate area, but perhaps will find a cadre of pals to establish more meaningful and genuine childhood friendships with.  Also, you can meet the parents during natural times, such as on the sidelines of a game.  This will help you to meet the parents without it being awkward and get to know if you want your child to be in their home for a play date.  

Also, realize that young children are like jello.  They tend to be very flexible and "slide" from friend to friend.  Girls in particular can be fickle and their "best" friend may be decided on something trivial, such as who has the best selection of toys, has an upcoming birthday to which they want to be invited to their party, or has a parent that is indulgent and known for not having "rules" in their home.  Teach your child by example that true friends are made due to shared common interests and demonstrate to each other mutual respect. A true friend will not care about the size of the home, wallet of the parents or collection of toys and games.

Recently, I had an opportunity to talk with longtime childhood friends about our "growing up experiences" when we were in elementary school.  We recalled neighborhood games, hopscotch contests, jumping rope and celebrating holidays such as Halloween.  Never once did we mention who had the most toys, better bikes or fancier homes.

I hope this helps!

Good luck.

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist

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Additional Answers (1)

dgraab , Parent writes:
Hi, I'm sorry to hear that you're having some difficulty arranging play dates for your daughter. Perhaps taking her to local parks, libraries and children's museums on weekends, or joining social clubs like Girl Scouts, would help with getting to know more families in your area (or provide more opportunities for social interactions with other nearby children her age).

Here are some resources on you may also find useful:

Help Your Child Make Friends

The Parent's Guide to First Grade

Middle Years (5-9)

Girls and Self-Esteem

Why the Girl Scouts Matter

I think it's also important to remember that high quality, long-lasting friendships aren't built by impressing people with material objects. It shouldn't matter if your house isn't as fancy as your daughter's classmates' houses. What matters more is how well those children treat your daughter and vice versa. The fun they have together can be created from simple objects, some imagination and (as needed) the guidance of engaged parents.

Good luck -- I hope this helps!

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