Kindergarten is a place for children to learn, play, and develop social skills. If your child prefers to play alone, should you worry?
You’ve noticed your kid never seems to want to invite friends over. When you ask him about his day at kindergarten, he talks about what he did alone. He never mentions playing with other kids.
Children Don’t Have To Be Sociable
It can be hard to accept your child’s preference for solitary play, especially if you’re sociable. You might wonder if there’s something wrong with your kid, the school or the other kids. You might wonder if you should do something about it.
A child who prefers his or her own company is not a reason to worry. It could just be a personality difference. Your child could be shy but perfectly happy.
Is She Happy Being Alone?
Like adults, some children are more introverted than others. They enjoy spending time in quiet, solitary pursuits like reading or drawing. If your child seems content doing this, she just prefers being alone.
Don’t force a shy, introverted child to be more outgoing. Let her move at her own pace when forming friendships.
Even a solitary child should have at least one or two friends, however. If your kid doesn’t have anyone she talks to or plays with at all, that might be a reason for concern. She doesn’t have to be a social butterfly, but she should be able to make an emotional and social connection with someone else her age.
Does He Have Poor Social Skills?
Some children want to make friends with others, but they don’t know how to do it. That’s not unusual. Some adults have the same problem. Making friendly conversation doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Your child may just need some guidance and some practice.
If your child isn’t able to make friends with the other children, his days at school will be lonely and frustrating. If you suspect that’s what is going on, talk to your child about it.
Help Your Child Develop Social Skills
You can help your kid develop better skills at interacting with other kids. Ask him gently about his efforts to make friends at school. If you can arrange a play date, watch his behavior with the other child. After the play date, you can talk about what worked and what didn’t.
Be gentle with your child. Don’t sound like you’re criticizing him for his inability to make friends. Continue offering gentle suggestions and encouragement.
How Does She Talk About Other Children?
When your child talks about other children, watch for signs of anger or antisocial feelings. If she says she “hates” them, ask her why. She could feel rejected because of her shyness, or she could feel true antisocial anger toward them.
Talk To Your Child’s Teacher
Your child’s kindergarten teacher can be a valuable resource. Find out if the teacher has concerns about your child’s self-imposed solitude. Does your child look sad, withdrawn, lonely or angry? It’s good to get an outside opinion, but you know your kid best.
When Should You Worry?
If your kid isn’t on friendly, cordial terms with anyone her age, that might be a warning. She might be doing something that turns other kids off, or she might have hostile feelings towards other children.
These problems can lead to antisocial behavior, which will only get worse if you don’t correct it in childhood. If your child’s antisocial tendencies seem to persist past kindergarten, it might be time to consider counseling for your kid.
Most Shy Children Are Happy and Healthy
In most cases, an introverted, solitary child is completely normal and healthy. If your kid is content to play alone and doesn’t seem lonely or unhappy, you have nothing to worry about.