My daughter says kids won't play with her at school

This doesn’t feel mundane and pointless to me. It feels heartbreaking. But, in the grand scheme of things…

My 6-year-old daughter is in Kindergarten this year. She has a September birthday, so is one of the oldest kids in the class. She’s also the smallest.

She was born an average size (7lbs, 6oz) and was in the 50th percentile for a few years. Then, the 25th percentile. Then the 5th. finally, her growth slowed to the point where she isn’t even on the charts for her age, and is 50th percentile for a 4-year-old. She had a battery of tests last year that turned up nothing, although I suspect that they’ll be repeated at her well visit next week.

She’s very sad about being so small. This morning, my husband was getting her ready for school while I was at the Dr with her brother (who is 4 and the exact same height as she is). My husband said she cried and cried this morning, finally saying that everyone is bigger than she is and no one will play with her on the playground.

I suspect that by “no one”, she means none of the boys. She is interested in sports and Spiderman, not dolls or dresses or nail polish. (Sidenote: when I see the threads lamenting Slut-o-ween, I’m glad for this. It starts very early, the slutty costuming. She’s going as Batman this year.) She is also very smart and there’s been talk about advancing a grade. Now I need to keep in mind that she’d be even smaller than her peers.

<sigh> There’s nothing to be done, really, except to support her and help her find friends with similar interests. Hopefully short ones. :smiley: I also emailed the teacher to get the true scoop on whether ALL of her peers are shunning her, since in the past I have also heard that everyone gets to ride the school bus and ***no one ***else brings their lunch from home.

But the Mama Bear in me wants to go and kick some Kindergarten ass. How dare they not play with my awesome daughter?! Fuckers. Five-year-old fuckers.

Really, I guess I just needed to vent. I myself have been crying over this since my husband told me, and I need to get it out and not let her see that. I just need to keep talking to her about her character and being a good friend and not letting her size bother her.

I thought I wouldn’t have to deal with my own strong feelings about what asses kids can be until middle school. Parenting requires a lot of mental fortitude and some days I just don’t feel up to the task.

I don’t have much to say in the way of help, but I do agree that kids can be fuckers. I’m sorry.

{{{Lorene and daughter}}}

I have no advice except to say “This too shall pass.” My oldest daughter had exactly one friend in first grade, and she was NOT the other girl’s best friend. She’s in third grade now, and is one of the most popular girls in her class and grade. On the days I pick her up from her after school program, I’m amazed and how many kids stop what they’re doing, walk over, and say “Bye Jill”. School’s tough on kids, no doubt, but six months from now she could easily be so popular that you’re buying an extra datebook to keep track of her playdates.

I was a similarly small child in school. In fact, for several years I’d just take my desk with me to the next grade, because it was the smallest in the school and I was the smallest kid. My mother wanted to hold me back a grade because she thought I’d do better with smaller kids. The nuns wanted to advance me a grade because I was already the best student in the class. The kids picked on me because I was an easy target.

I can’t give you any answers. You can’t force kids to like or play with your kid. I hate to say it, but teach her to like herself and be a good friend (because you have to be a friend to make a friend), and to enjoy some solitary activities like reading.


I’m sorry to hear that about your daughter. I can imagine that it must feel pretty awful to her at this age, if only we could show her that this is nothing in the long run!
Is she shy? The only thing I could think of is perhaps throwing a party and inviting children she’d like to get to know better over. Maybe they could use more exposure to one another outside of school.

Don’t feel guilty about wanting to kick kindergarten ass. My youngest is in the third grade now. She’s the shortest in her class. On the drive home she was telling me about a boy in her class who shoved her into the chain-link fence and scraped her cheek* when lo and behold, she points him out walking on the sidewalk.

It was all I could do not to screech to a halt, hop out of the car and beat the little fucker to within an inch of his life. Regular folks recognize that as being just a little extreme, so we don’t really do it, but I think it’s a normal emotional reaction.

There’s also the little girl who tells my daughter with tiresome regularity that she’s not her friend anymore in revenge for daughter talking or playing with other kids. She came home in tears once or twice a week up until a couple of weeks ago. Daughter finally told her “friend” off about the manipulation and if she doesn’t want to be her friend then fine, she can hang out with the other kids. Her friend has stopped that crap, at least so far. Every once in a while the pep talks we give them seem to pay off.

*I talked with the teacher about it the next day, so she’s keeping an eye on the situation for me.

It does break your heart to see them hurting it, doesn’t it? I’m sorry lorene. Give her a hug from me. (and hugs to you too)

I wonder if a talk with the teacher might help. First, you can get a true read on how the others are treating her. Secondly, at that age, the teacher can have some control with regard to setting up team projects, buddy systems, etc. At that age, there is a lot of social steering, and if your kid’s teacher knows it’s an issue, she can make an effort to intervene a little. Good luck.

The optimist in me wants to believe it has nothing to do with her size. My son is 5(as of last week) and in 4K for two full days a week. There are two little twin girls in his class that are tiny. They look 3. He loves them! They are so outgoing and friendly and the most popular kids in the class. They play with the girls and boys, and seem to be the leaders in most of the games. So maybe it is more about personality.

My son is the biggest kid in the class, and also one of the oldest, and he is pretty middle of the road when it comes to making friends or playing. He still plays alone a lot. He is an only child, however, and maybe this is just how it will be for awhile.

Another thing I have noticed at this age. One day he is telling me one thing, and the next day it is totally different. Like, “Derek hits me, I don’t like him.” Then, “I played with Derek at playtime, we had fun”.

I am like…huh? I am sort of leaving him be, and not stepping in much just yet. If someone hits him or something that will be different. But for now, I am just hoping he finds his way, and also starts to play with kids on his own.

I think the second to the last thing you said is exactly what you should do. Talk to her a lot, about being a good friend, and not letting her size bother her.

Good luck.
BTW my son was 7# 6oz at birth too :slight_smile: Now he is about 45# and 46" at five. Not sure what that is on the growth chart, but he seems huge!

My own daughter is not terribly popular - she is in third grade now. My suggestion is to collect phone numbers, arrange play dates, and encourage your own daughter to reach out (if she is shunning the girls, she is part of her own problem - kindergarten boys - boys in general - can be very exclusionary on basis of gender).

I did do something this year - third grade - just now that has turned out - I think - into a brilliant move - I’m a Brownie leader. The troop is small. It gives my daughter a chance to hang with some other girls her age - and it also gives me a chance to SEE her interact with girls her age. I know my daughter isn’t necessarily the easiest person to like - seeing her around girls her own age allows me to gently correct some of her annoying behaviors (she is a know it all, she is bossy, and she interrupts). Daisies is the Girl Scout program for kindergarten and first grade.

(One of my daughter’s friends is a little girl we call “the changeling” - her and her brother were preemie twins - and neither of them has ever caught up - she is a little fairy child - but perfectly fine socially and well liked - I suspect its more than just size).

Thanks for all of the support and suggestions. I do have some phone numbers and have been starting to arrange play dates.

One of the best things about Kindergarten is the exposure to a wider range of kids than she has known before, including 2 girls who are also what would be considered tomboys. That’s been a revelation to my daughter, that other girls have the same interests that she does. She’s never had female peers who were into Sports before. So, I’m trying to get together with those girls, but of course kids these days are so busy with everything that I have to wait for a break in the town soccer schedule.

I also wasn’t seriously suggesting that it’s all on the other kids, that her personality has nothing to do with it, or even that the “no one” grouping was accurate. I just do feel badly for her. She’s not prone to such sadness and if something is bothering her this much, I do owe it to both of us to see how I can help. I know my kid, and I know she’s not perfect. But if she’s crying her eyes out, something is wrong.

InappropriateHumor, I applaud your restrain!

I was pretty small as a kid.

I’m 6’1" now. The summer between Jr and Sr year of HS I grew almost a foot. (it kind of hurt)

My son has constitutional growth delay- aka “late bloomer”. He is also off the charts small, although he was 50% when he was born. By the time he was 1-2 years old, he was below the 5th percentile.
He is the size of an average child three years younger than he is (ie he is 13, he’s the size of an average 10 yo). His bone plates are also behind, indicating that he has lots of growth potential left. It is predicted that he will be above average height when he’s all done. He’ll just get there about three years later than most boys.

He’s in 8th grade now. Elementary school was hard at times, but we were always open with him about his size. We acknowledged that he was small, and then emphasized his other qualities and that they all came together in one package. It helped he was very athletic, so he was good at sports anyway. But he was teased and picked on at times. He was pretty resilient though, we focused on the fact that it was beyond his control to change his height and he should focus on things that were in his control. He seemed to embrace this idea and even would come up with reasons it was good to be small (I’m quick and can hide well).

His optimism and honesty about what made him different seemed to affect kids in a positive way. It’s hard to pick on what doesn’t seem to bother the person!

Frankly, the only thing that really bugs him is when people think he and his 10 yo sister are twins (she’s average, so they are virtually the same height).

PM me if you want to talk more!

Since you mentioned that your daughter is interested in sports, perhaps you could try her in figure skating or gymnasitcs. A sport where a small size is an advantage and there’s a good chance of finding other smaller friends.

I was tiny as a kid (and sickly to boot). My parents didn’t actually put me in kindergarten till February or March because of it - though my birthday made me one of the youngest in my class on top of everything else. I was also smart enough that school was never the least bit challenging. Moving ahead a grade might have made me less bored in school, but to my knowledge the possibility was never considered. But I know my mother would have vetoed the idea in a heartbeat if my teachers had ever mentioned it, since she had been advanced a grade and it was a horrible experience for her.

I don’t have much advice. I am and always have been a rather reclusive person. It would never have occurred to me to complain that the other kids didn’t want to play with me - so much the better, no one to disturb my reading. It doesn’t sound like your daughter is much like me in that respect. With physical and mental development at opposite ends of the bell curve, though, you’re going to be walking a bit of a tightrope for many years to come.

My youngest sister was extremely tiny, and also went to doctors many times to try to figure out why, with no apparent reason ever discerned. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect she may also have been ostracized at school, so my mother put her in figure skating, then gymnastics, both of which she loved and excelled at. She was good enough at gymnastics, that she had Olympic aspirations until a problem with her feet forced her to quit.

Good luck with your daughter, lorene. If all else fails, sing her the “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms” song. :slight_smile:

ETA: Said sister is now quite normal sized, btw.

It’s been a while since I was in kindergarten, but boys don’t play with girls very much at that age anyway, do they? It might not be because she’s short, but just because she has girl cooties.

I’ve seen this, as a teacher. I wonder if your school has a couselor. School Counselors sometimes have “friendship groups”. They gather a variety of children with different levels of social skills and talk about how to make friends. I’m not saying your daughter doesn’t have social skills…but it’s a good way for kids to meet other children.

Lorene, so sorry to hear that about your little girl. I was always the smallest in class, too, a gal, and do remember feeling different and vulnerable, especially in early Elementary years. Do encourage her in sports. I was a tomboy, and particularly loved baseball, because tiny meant running very fast, including running up to catch in the outfield. Played with the boys quite ably at recess, but, couldn’t officially play on Little League teams back then, big disappointment. There are so many other options for girls now though, in sports. Tell her that she may be small, but she’s a Mighty Mite (sounds a little derogatory, but I remember that term stopping some sad tears when a coach told me that.)

Hopefully, this will change as your daughter gets the hang of school and develops her strengths. I was sensitive about my height, and kinda shy, as a kid, but now, I forget that I’m small until I see a photograph taken with others, and wonder, “Wha…? I’m short, ain’t I ???” My mind doesn’t feel that difference now. That’s to say, it’s not a handicap, ya don’t feel diminished as you mature because of size. At a certain point, it made me try harder to prove I was just as capable as bigger kids. I hope that happens for your daughter as well.

My kids have had popularity issues too. I generally pat 'em on the head & tell them some people are just jerks, but also try to involve them in other activities with kids their age (karate, church, whatever group activity you can find). It helps to have more than one social group to interact with.

A word of advice, if I may:

My advice, having somewhat been there: Don’t do it. The school years will come and go. There’s no distinct advantage to skipping a grade (other than, y’know, skipping the grade - the kids usually see that as an advantage in and of itself :D)

My daughter is about a grade ahead of her peers. She’s the youngest in her class, and it occasionally causes her some distress. But the real kicker is - I feel like I robbed her of some childhood. She’ll be graduating in just a couple more years! If I could go back & do it over, I’d have kept her home & waited another year to send her to kindergarten. She gained nothing from it, and lost something irreplaceable :frowning:

Has your daughter been tested for celiac disease? My friend’s daughter had similar symptoms at the age of 6. It took a long time to diagnose, but once they did and they removed gluten from her diet, she shot from the 5th percentile back up to the 80th. If your girl hasn’t been screened for that, she needs to be.

Regarding her social issues, you have to remember that kids are beasts and what doesn’t kill her will make her stronger. One thing that helped when my daughter went thru this in preschool was when I became the room mom. So if you can, volunteer to work in her class (provided you’re a cool mom and not some ogre who will frighten your daughter’s classmates). And set up some playdates for her. She’ll be fine. But her health issues need to be resolved asap imo.