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CaliforniaMom
CaliforniaMom asks:
Q:

Why does my daughter say she doesn't play with anyone at school?

My daughter is in kindergarten. Whenever I ask her who her friends are or who she plays with at school, she says nobody. I know she plays with other children. I have asked her teacher if she is socializing. Her teacher has not observed any social issues. I have tried asking questions different ways, by including activities or asking specifically about other children and I usually get the same answer. Nobody will play with me or I didn't play with anyone.
In Topics: Friendships and peer relationships
> 60 days ago

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Expert

AnnieFox
Dec 23, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

I'm wondering what kind of response you give your daughter when she says "I didn't play with anyone." Does she get sympathy from you? Or perhaps some special Mom-daughter time? The reason I'm asking is that if she, in fact, DOES play with other kids at school, there may be some "reward" she's getting for telling you otherwise. Just a thought.

More to the point of your question: You seem concerned about your daughter's ability to make friends and to be progressing in her social development. That's certainly something all parents want, especially with our kindergarteners. And you did the right thing to check with the teacher to find out what s/he has observed in the classroom and on the playground. the teacher indicates "No problem in the friendship department." So why are you still asking your daughter the question? By asking it repeatedly you may be giving your daughter the idea that her ability to make friends is a worry of yours and that somehow, whatever she's doing at school is quite "measuring up." I'm not suggesting you believe this, I'm simply suggesting that continuing to ask the question may be creating some anxiety in your daughter.

I suggest you give the question a rest.  

Instead, how about asking your daughter which of her classmates she'd like to invite over for a play-date. Then connect with that child's parent and arrange something. Keep the date short and fun and it's quite likely that your daughter will soon be volunteering information about who she played with at school.

I hope this helps!

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Additional Answers (3)

eliad
eliad , Parent writes:
<p>We have very similar situation, my son would also say that &quot;he has no friends&quot; or &quot;no one want to play with me&quot; but when I ask him specific questions or mention a particular kid name he'll confirm that they play together.  He's very particular about things and always like to dictate how things are done or played. I've seen it in the playground before, where kids would play with him but after being &quot;bossed&quot; around for a while they go do their own thing.  I suspect that what happened to him in school as well. </p>
<p>I explain him that sharing a decision about how a game should be played is important too.</p>
> 60 days ago

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natalie_17
natalie_17 writes:
Since she is so young.  She is probably just shy.
> 60 days ago

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dgraab
dgraab , Parent writes:
Our daughter did the same thing when she was in kindergarten, and to some extent still does now that she's in first grade. Like you, I know my daughter has many friends that she plays with at school (and it's been confirmed by other parents and her teachers).

Sometimes I think my daughter answers this way because she's doing something else and doesn't want to be distracted by my questions about school (she's learned that if she answers me with the real story, there is usually a follow-up question about the game or activity they played -- one more distraction from her current focus). Other times, I think she does it to get my attention or sympathies (i.e., extra hugs, kisses, etc. when I feel sorry for her).

Have you checked out Education.com's articles about social development and friendships?
http://www.education.com/topic/social-development-friendship/

You may also find some insight in The Parents Guide to Kindergarten:
http://www.education.com/grade/kindergarten/

Lastly, here's an article about what you can do to promote friendship for your daughter:
http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Working_School_Age/

I wish you well in figuring out what is triggering your daughter to act in this way.
> 60 days ago

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