When you find out your child has nobody to play with at school, it can be tempting to intervene. But what if helping them make friends robs them of the opportunity to learn an important life skill? Another parenting dilemma for our iVillage community…
My son has no friends at school. He started Kindergarten this year and almost four weeks in he is stills spending recess and lunchtime sitting on a silver bench. I know this because I have three spies who tell me what Giovanni is getting up to at school – my son Philip and my niece and nephew.
Before Giovanni started the school year I asked each of the older kids to take turns checking on him. Whenever I asked what they’ve observed they all said the same thing – he sits on the bench by himself. Sometimes he plays with his shoelaces.
“Are any other Kindergarten kids sitting by themselves?”
“No, they’re all playing with each other.”
I feel heart sick at the thought of my little boy being lonely at school but thought. I decided to leave it for a few days to see if he’d make some friends. It didn’t work.
When I asked him who he plays with at school he said, “Nobody.”
“Then what do you do?”
“I sit down. Sometimes I play with leaves.” It would have hurt me less if someone had stuck a metal spike through my foot.
During the school holidays as I prepared Giovanni’s school bag I had visions of him playing with his friends, learning to read and write, happy, having fun, being a normal little school boy.
I want to intervene. I could manufacture a couple of reasons to drop by the school and while I’m there encourage him to play with some of the children. Or I could organise play dates for him every single weekend. Or should I just do nothing and hope his loneliness compels him to reach out to some of the kids, thereby teaching him how to problem solve and be resilient?
Should I intervene or leave him to figure it out for himself?