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Elementary Aged Kids Your little ones have grown up right before your eyes! They are no longer those little babies they once were, and soon they are moving to adolescence.

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Old 10-16-2002, 04:46 AM
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New Kid in School

My 5th grader is new to his school this year. He knows a couple of kids from being in Cub Scouts with them, but he's having trouble making friends. We just found out that "nobody plays with him" during recess, when the kids are all playing football. He claims that even if the teams are uneven, they don't let him play.
I'm not naive enough to think that it's everyone's fault but my child's. I'd like to help him learn to make friends at school, and make school a good experience for him. He shouldn't have to dread lunchtime. Being shy myself, I don't have a good resource of social skills to pass on to my son.
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Old 10-20-2002, 12:42 PM
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Shy 5th Grader

When I get a new student who is shy, I pair them up with one or two people who I think might have similar interests. I ask them to generally be pals for a week. Usually by then the student is more comfortable. Ask the teacher to do this. It isn't hard. It is hard to eat in the school cafeteria by yourself. You might send in some treats to "introduce" your son. Make sure he wouldn't be embarrassed by it and that the school allows it. Good luck.
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Old 10-20-2002, 02:46 PM
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You could try reading aloud and discussing the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie or "How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People" by Les Giblin. They're both old classic books and full of wisdom for those of us who grew up in families without good social skills. The information I got from them both has helped me in business and personal relations more than just about anything else I've ever read or tried. How I wish I'd known about them when I was a shy kid in school at lunchtime!
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Old 10-20-2002, 07:09 PM
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I always made friends initially by offereing someting they might want. I sort of made myself a "desireable comodity".

For instance, my mom made awesome chocolate chip cookies. I'd bring extra and ofer some to the kids at my lunch table. Soon there were more kids sitting at my lunch table, hoping for some cookies. I''d then beginf to offer to swap desserts, and eventually start some conversations. Then I'd find out who was worth talking to and who wasn't. Then the next step was getting that person to form a froendship outside of school.

Base it on a comon interest. Gaming, Biking, sports. Etc. Maybe your family has a really cool "something" that he could invite a friend over to see, do, or play with?

(My dad was a cop, and would come by to show kids the car with the lights and sirens.)

It's more important to have one or two good friends than to have a group of hanger-on's anyway. If he can manage to find those one or two, just by opening the doors a bit, it would be great.
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Old 10-21-2002, 10:42 AM
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Maybe his school's counselor could make some suggestions (for you, him, and his teachers).
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Old 10-23-2002, 08:16 PM
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Been There......

Just last year, my daughter (also a 5th grader) moved into a new school --- she knew no one --- new house, new town, new everything

I knew she wasn't happy but didn't know how bad it was until the teacher contacted me --- at school, she turned into the kid no parent wants their child to play with --rude, hurtful, completely the opposite of her normal personality --- she was so afraid of rejection that she gave everyone a reason to reject her first

I know that your son isn't responding that way but the basic problem is the same --- if you don't meet anyone new then no one can reject you

The solution was already mentioned in a previous post --- your son's teacher can make all the difference --- don't wait until the parent teacher conferences --- you'll be amazed at all the solutions a good teacher has for these situations

In my daughters case, her teacher made her a peer tutor along with paring her with the girl that she felt socially threatened by the most (remember, I said my daughter had become rude and hurtful --- imagine the worst!!) --- my daughter and the other girl were pared together on a special project that would benefit the rest of the class --- I still don't know if the teacher made the project up or if it was planned and she just decided to "kill two birds with one stone"

My daughter got to know the other girl really well and because they were peer tutors, she felt useful and found her place in the class

I don't know how the system is broken down by you, but here and at our old house, 5th grade is the year that you finally "rule the school" before going on to middle school (6th, 7th & 8th) so it's really hard to move into a new environment at that point ---so even though we moved in order to give our kids a better life, my daughter didn't care at that point

I do have to say that ,what we went through last year, made the transition to middle school (6th grade) easier this year --- even though all of her friends were broken up this year, I reminded her that she had already gone through it and that she could help her friends with their transitions

I'm sure your son has some strength or interest that can be tapped into and his teacher will know best how to utilize it ---

ALSO, it is important the mom and dad don't step in to fix all their problems at this age, so having his teacher step up is the best of both worlds ---- "the teacher say's we have to" and "the teacher needs my help", are both great motivators and great excuses to interact with others ---- and a good teacher knows when to draw the line so that your son won't look like he's getting special treatment (yet another school landmine)

You're obviously a mom who cares enough to notice that your son needs help making friends

there is always the old standby of having a few friends over after school or on a weekend {that's how my son discovered who he really wanted to spend time with (4th grade-now 5th)} --- on that note, I never knew before that it's better to end the visit with them still wanting more ---- if you let them stay too long &/or too often, they will get bored

Sorry this got soooo long ---- hope it helped

I normally would remind you that "this too shall pass" but when our children are young, everything in thier lives is "a major event" so we need to do everything to help them through

good luck and keep the faith ---- patti
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