Pre-School and Daycare

4 y/o socially immature??

When my 4 y/o walks into preschool my husband and I have noticed that she just wanders around the class aimlessly for awhile without joining into any specific group in her class. She has been doing this the whole year and I do not really see it getting any better. She loves going to school and never gives us a problem. She also talks at home with us about her friends at school that she has but I don't know how to help her know that it is okay to join into groups and make it easier for her. Any ideas?! thank you :)

Re: 4 y/o socially immature??

  • My first step would be to talk with the teacher for feedback. Where she might just walk in and do some surveying of the place, she might really enjoy or engage in another activity like circle time or another specific activity done together. The other question is does she seem happy and enjoy her time at school? Maybe she is content at the moment. I know it's like pulling teeth to get info from DS on what they did that day, who he played with etc but I do recall encouraging him at 4 ish to join in what the kids are doing if he is interested. Litterally telling him the words "Can I play trucks/blocks/trains with you guys?" It's such a big world at that age, it must be a bit overwhelming.

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  • Both of my kids were exactly like this at age 4.  When my kids were in preschool, I always noticed that some preschoolers were very skilled at entering into group play.  But then there kids like mine who, while not exactly what you'd call shy, would never walk up to a group of kids and say, "Hi! Can I play?"

    So, if your DD is comfortable with school and will join in with others, or at least parallel play with other kids, I would just let her find her own way.  My kids were both around 5 when this social skill seemed to "click" for them. Although my kids were sort of "late bloomers" in this way, it has in no way hurt them in the long run.  My same son who wandered the outskirts of the preschool classroom at age 4, was doing sleepovers without batting an eye at 6.  You just never know!

    In the meantime, it might be easier for her if she has some play-dates outside of school.  Maybe start by asking one or two other parents if they want to meet at a park or play area.  Sometimes preschoolers can be uncertain about what to do or how to play together when they're in a new situation.  The adults can sort of get them started by suggesting a game or a pretend scenario, and then gently pull back when the children are engaged with each other.  Then, each child can look forward to playing that game together again in school.

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
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  • I think this is totally normal! Many 4yos still don't really jump into playing together.
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