Making friends at school

The Difficulty In Making Friends At School


A few weeks we had our daughter’s parents evening at school. A short appointment to let us know how she is getting on in year 1. I always feel a little nervous about these things. I’m confident in her academic ability and I know she isn’t a trouble maker but like most mums I do worry about how she feels, if she has friends and if she is happy at school.

Wray Castle, National Trust

To most, she is a confident and chatty little girl. She started at nursery at 10 months old, we’ve been to toddler groups and had regular outings with friends and their children and she also went to preschool. It’s safe to say she’s been ‘socialised’. Although it seemed there shouldn’t be an issue with making friends I still worried. She’s my baby girl and I know how sensitive she really is.

I’ve always tried to ensure she understands the importance of being inclusive. When she started reception she did tell me she was worried about making friends and I explained that most of the children probably felt the same. I advised her to be considerate of anyone looking lonely, to ask them to play, to involve them. I know she listened as she would tell me that someone in her class looked lonely and she went to play with them. Sometimes they wanted to play and sometimes they didn’t but she asked all the same.

At the parents evening in reception we were told she was a ‘mingler’ rather than someone who has made a strong attachment to another child. We were reassured that this was normal for her age and most of the class were the same.

Loch Lomond view from Balloch

Roll on parents evening Year 1 and whilst she is performing way ahead of what is expected academically across all subjects we were told that sometimes she spends break times on her own. This broke my heart. My little girl was lonely, just as I had feared.

Now forgive me but I spent the following days feeling a very bitter.  This was the little girl that has been so considerate to others and asked others to join in if they looked lonely and now she is being left out. We were told that sometimes she does play with others but it is usually the children from year 5 and 6. So what should I do? Do I tell her to look out for number 1? Do I tell her to be strong and stand up for herself? I don’t know, I just want her to be happy.

She already goes to a drama class that teaches confidence with speaking and expressing emotions, the class has children from the age of 5 up to 13 and she loves it. She seems to find older children easier to approach and get on with. But not teenage boys because they are ‘silly’ she tells me!

Muddy Puddles Chester zoo and TalkingMums

As anyone knows getting information from kids about their school day is like getting blood from a stone. I can’t figure out whether she just doesn’t have an interest in playing with the children from her class or if she is shy. How do I dig into the problem – if it is in fact a problem, without making it a big issue. I just want her to be happy and confident in herself.

I go through days wondering if it’s my fault. Did I do or say something to make her doubt herself. Have I not inspired her to be confident? Have I been so focused on teaching her to be considerate of others that she forgets to consider herself?

For now all I can do is try and build her self esteem and show her my love.


Update: The weeks that followed the teachers on playground duty made an effort to help usher her to join in with the other children. I try not to ask too many questions but I always ask her about her day and what she did. She has spoken about games she’s played with people in her class and overall seem happy with school.

I love this TED Talk on how we can help our daughters to take risks and help them be confident. We are adventurous as a family but on reflection I think I do caution her too often.

Have your children ever had problems making friends? How do you build their confidence?

3 Little Buttons
The Pramshed


  1. Great post, and really relevant to me at the moment. We are going through something similar at the moment, though my daughter is a little younger than yours. She doesn’t start school until next year. She has started saying that she doesn’t feel well and doesn’t want to go to nursery which is really surprising. I started to have concerns about why she doesnt seem to like nursery all of a sudden, and that maybe she doesn’t have any friends or play with others. The nursery have reassured me she is fine and while she doesn’t have a ‘best friend’, she does play with others.. All I can do is ask her about her day like you.. 🤷‍♀️ #TriumphantTales

    • It’s hard to know exactly whats going on when they can’t really explain it and you’re not there isn’t it? When my daughter was in reception I was reassured by other mums, teachers and friends that it’s completely normal for them not to have a best friend but move around between groups of friends at that age. I think most kids seem to go through phases of not wanting to go. Personally I think if they are tired / under the weather / they have a significant change at home etc are reasons why they son’t want to go. Sometimes I don’t think that school is the issue it’s more that they want to stay with you. So hard to know what to do for the best x

  2. Awwww. I’ve just started school this September and finding it hard to make new friends and have just latched on to old nursery friends. Glad she is enjoying drama and hope that helps the situation x #DreamTeam x

  3. I can totally relate – my daughter is only two but the nursery staff used to tell me that she would go sit in the book corner alone and it just broke my heart. Both my husband and I are are introverts so I appreciate she might be the same, but I also really want her to have friends and be social. #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. Not a child psyche but surely it could be a number of things. If she’s introverted, she needs that time alone to reboot; and if she seems to always get along with older kids, maybe she’s more mature than the kids her age and so that will even out in later years? It’s worrying, and you want to keep an eye on social anxiety running rampant but all you can do is organise playdates and things like that to try and encourage her. #ForhteloveofBLOG

  5. It might be very loud and overwhelming for her. It does take a few months for them to settle into any change as well. New teacher, less playtimes in Year 1, very tiring long days. My son always finds this term especially hard. I think also she may just want a bit of time out in her day. Or she may end up finding one or two close friends rather than a group. My son goes from being like this to always finding the wrong type of friends! He always wants to play with people he sees as cool but that are actually always up to no good and loves being popular so joins in with gusto! I’m not sure which problems are worse! LOL. Usually these phases are very painful for us but pass quite quickly. Hang in there. She will have a big break soon over Christmas and hopefully feel much more confident going in. xx #coolmumclub

  6. I know what you mean, when my daughter tells me she was playing alone, I also get a little stab in the heart but I do also think sometimes they just need to be by themselves especially when school can be so overwhelming. I agree with what you say – just focus on building up her self esteem as that is the most important thing of all. Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub xoxo

  7. It sounds like you are a wonderful mom who just wants her daughter to be happy. My two year old started preschool this year, and I feel the same way. We got this great book called The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh at the library. It’s about a little hedgehog who feels lonely so goes on a trip to find the mystical Friend Ship. I don’t think my daughter understood it but it made me feel better. #blogstravaganza

  8. Oh bless her. It’s so hard isn’t it. Mine has just started reception this year, and that was the first question I asked at parents evenings… who are her friends! I think children will always find their own way in the end so don’t worry too much. Some children will sit back and watch to take everything in, before joining a group of peers. Maybe she hasn’t clicked with anyone just yet, but it will come. I think I’ve been watching too much of Ch4 The secret life of a 4 year old / 5 year old! Have you seen it? Thanks for joining us for the #DreamTeam xx

  9. This is my fear for when Ben goes to nursery and school. I hate the idea of him being lonely and not being there to keep him company!
    Im sorry to not have any tips or advice but I’m sure little lady will be mixing with her peers sooner rather than later!
    Thanks for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back tomorrow.

  10. It’s so difficult isn’t it. No parent wants to think of their child being left out. My daughter is in Y2 and still doesn’t really have a best friend, she plays with different friends on different days. Can you organise some playdates with some of the kids she does play with? Maybe that would help her form an attachment easier when it’s one on one? #DreamTeam

  11. Oh my goodness that would break my heart. I think it’s so tough making friends. I have no useful advice unfortunately but I think what you’re doing is the right thing. I didn’t really have a firm best friend until I was 8 if that helps! X thanks for linking up to #fortheloveofblog

  12. Even though we’re not at this stage yet, I always worry about these kinds of things too. Peachy is very social and approaches kids big and small all the time, but she doesn’t really know what to do next. She is only 2 and has limited vocabulary and most of the kids she approaches are bigger than her and don’t know how to interact with her either. I’m always so worried for her but she doesn’t seem the least bit deterred and she just keeps on trying. Thanks for sharing with #Blogstravaganza.

    • It’s so hard watching from the sidelines isn’t it? I think the key thing with Peachy is that she approaches other kids ok, her vocab will develop and I really think all we can do is encourage them x


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