View Full Version : 1 child always being left out...

07-20-2011, 09:25 AM
I have a 3.5yo girl in my care, everyone else is between 5 and 7. (I dont have the 1 yo over the summer). Its been a challenge with her from the begining b/c not only is she younger, she seems way younger than even 3.5yo. So, she WANTs to play with the other kids, but doesnt really play like they do, and I suppose its because she gets frustrated that she ends up annoying them in some way to have their attention (repeatedly knocking down things they have built, trying to take and hoard toys they are playing with, or simply just getting in their face and staying their with a smile on her face while they repeatedly ask her to move, or stop or leave them alone... and it goes on) Crying and coming to tell on them ("so and so touched my foot, so and so yelled at me, so and so has a toy that I want....") I thought this would get better after school was out and there would be more kids, thus more options for a playmate, but its really gotten worse. The more I say to the kids, the worse it gets (almost like it fuels her determination to irritated them) or the more I try to get her to play nicely instead of try to bother the kids in a negative way (ie help them build instead of knocking stuff down) it seems to fuel the other kids to leave her out, or yell at her etc, etc. It just seems that she is not fitting in... I am frustrated with refereeing every interaction (if I timed out either her or the other kids, someone would be in time out all day long), the older kids are frustrated with her, and I feel bad for her when I see her basically giving up and playing on her own or just sitting down to watch.... although now that I have the summer off from the 1 year old I have more time to play with her, I cant do it all day and, next year I'll have the 1 year old and my own newborn to contend with... what do I do?

I kinda wonder if she needs to be in a daycare where there are kids her own age...

07-20-2011, 09:54 AM
It really does sound like she has not learned any play skills. She is still doing toddler things like knocking towers down just because it is fun. How many of the big kids will still be around in September or will some be full time school leaving some that will need a playmate. The one year old coming back will also be older and have more skills so that will help too. How does she seem as a mother's helper. If she has no one to play with you might be able to make good use of her when you have your baby for getting you things and sitting nearby to watch etc so she feels useful even though she isn't really doing much. Does she take instruction at all in terms of showing her proper social skills and then practicing them on the big kids. There is also a point where you need to just leave her to play on her own and it isn't until she gets really bored of that that she will want to seek out better ways to join the others. Make sure when you do get a chance to interact that you do something with the whole group like a game where she can participate as a social equal so both sides can see what she can do.

But is it worth keeping her and the frustrations when you have your own baby to deal with only you can tell that. It might be a good idea for her to be with some peers so that if the issues don't resolve themselves quickly they will become obvious and teachers will want to deal with it. I have sent kids in the past to a daycare centre for similar issues because the parents were in denial so once the child was with their peers it became obvious they had severe delays that needed attention beyond the wait and see. Can you fill the space though if she goes?

07-20-2011, 11:58 AM
I am guessing that she is the only child at her house? Those behaviours are definitely "younger" socially. There is no way that a 3 1/2 year old DOESN'T know that it's not nice to knock down other people's towers, etc. She is either being allowed to continue this by mom and dad, or the only place that she plays with other children is in your home.

I would continue to discuss the expectations for playing in the right ways with other kids. Remind her that nobody wants to play with someone who is going to bug them all the time. I reserve time-outs for the really serious (usually aggressive) behaviour, so I doubt that I would even really use them in this case. Don't feel too bad if she decides to play on her own, she will realize that if she wants to play with the other kids, she needs to do so in a way that she isn't driving them all crazy!! Encourage the older kids to attempt to include her on occasion, they need to learn to adapt their play to younger kids too. If she is being really pesty, though, don't "make" them play with her. Tell her that she needs to play on her own if she is choosing to play like that.

The truth is, some kids (like adults) are just not very likeable! :o And the older kids get, the more there tends to be a "pack" mentality, in which someone is always getting either picked on or left out. If you really feel like your environment is not the best for her, then it's better for everyone if she finds another care situation. Especially if you don't anticipate that things will be changing in regards to the age of the kids you have, etc. With a baby coming, you need to eliminate as many possible sources of stress as you can, that's for sure. Better to "fix" things now, and fill that spot with someone who will hopefully mesh easier with the rest. Instead of waiting and doing it at the last minute!

07-20-2011, 01:12 PM
Yes, she is an only child and I've noticed even when her mom or dad come to get her they speak to her like a much younger child (one morning she kissed her mum good bye but had cream cheese on her lips from her bagel and her mum says in this icky baby voice "Oh that was a cream cheesy kissy wasnt it? wasnt it? Cream cheesey facey" ) She still sucks her thumb for which I constantly have to tell her to stop but I've yet to hear the parents tell her to stop. She did attend another daycare before mine however, I found out she was the oldest... so is this why she plays the way she plays, cuz the babies could care less if she knocks their stuff down or hoard their toys?

There is definatly a 'pack' mentality among the older kids, they are happy to see eachother everyday and are all very close. I've had to repremand my son for running to the door in the morning excited that its one of the kids but to show obvious (and very rudely if you ask me) disappointment when its this 3.5 year old. They stick together, and dont necessarily gang up on this 3.5 year old but they all have the same low tolerance of her. If one is getting along with her usually the others are, but if she s bugging one... she can do no right by any of them. So on one hand... I can understand how anoying she can be, but I also can see how unfair the older kids can be to her too... I feel stuck.

As a mother's helper? I dont know... she also has a hard time listening to me although I suspect she will be thrilled to give me a hand with the new baby (until the new baby gets old enough to want her toys) however, so will the other older girls, which I'm anticipating there will be fighting there too...

I have not spoken to her parents at all about this, I was hoping it would get better with the summer... by school next year most of the others will be in school, so it will be her and the then 16m old, who also seem to butt heads b/c now the younger one has stopped tolerating the 3.5 yo taking stuff from her (the 16 mo actually bit her a few times b/c she ws trying to take something away from her) so I dont know how it will go with only the 2 of them next year.

I was thinking of suggesting a playschool program to her mom, as I'd be able to get her there, and she may learn some social skills better around kids her own age? What do you think?

It would be ideal to let her go however, I"m uncertian of being able to fill the spot as I"m taking time off in the winter for the new baby.... so I'd like to keep her. Mabye it will get better as she gets older? Maybe?

When we try playing games, she usually hoards the pieces, or cards or whatever, and when I tell her she cant she may play for a breif amount of time but then quickly loses interest b/c she cant have the pieces the way she wants them.... uggh, its exahusting.... :(

07-20-2011, 01:20 PM
Just curious but what activities do you do with all the kids involved? She seems to be feeling left out because she sounds left out to me? Please don't take my e-mail the wrong way as I'm just asking? My D/H is 3.5 and she plays with a 5 year old who finds her annoying at times due to my D/H wanting to shadow her and be just like her. So I just find activities we can all do that are fun, i.e dress up and dance, Teddy Bear workout, colouring, painting etc...

07-20-2011, 01:26 PM
Just curious but what activities do you do with all the kids involved? She seems to be feeling left out because she sounds left out to me? Please don't take my e-mail the wrong way as I'm just asking? My D/H is 3.5 and she plays with a 5 year old who finds her annoying at times due to my D/H wanting to shadow her and be just like her. So I just find activities we can all do that are fun, i.e dress up and dance, Teddy Bear workout, colouring, painting etc...

Just read your later post and she sounds to me like she gets everything she wants at home and is not often told "NO". She really should be around others her own age. You sound like you know in your heart what you need to do to make life easier for yourself. Why not put your ad out there and see what comes your way then say goodbye if you find a better fit. Don't put your life at risk for stress you really need to enjoy your new born.

07-20-2011, 01:30 PM
When there is such an obvious gap in ability it isn't always possible to have whole group activities nor is it healthy for everyone. Yes there are things they can do that can include eveyone but each age group also deserves to do things that challenge them and have the right to do it without interruption from the babies etc. The child is the diva princess of the castle at home would be my guess and she needs to learn that to have a friend one needs to act like a friend. Then work on what that means, not taking toys, asking to join in not demanding, sharing, taking turns etc. Let her play on her own if she abuses the group privileges and don't feel guilty about it. It will take a certain amount of isolation for her to realize she is bored, sad, alone, etc. When she is ready to change then you can help her. When the big kids are gone the play level will return to a more even playing field it sounds like. Try to set up duplicates of some things so they can be doing the same thing but in different nearby areas so two bins of dolls, dishes, etc in case you need to quickly separate them and don't know who to take away from the centre - means they can both play in the centre just on opposite sides of a shelf or table or something with their own stuff - parallel play vice cooperative play which is really the stage she is still at.

07-20-2011, 08:32 PM
She for sure does get left out a lot by the other kids, but I think that wouldnt happen so much if she was able to play more nicely with them.

As for things we do as a group, we do lots of crafts, Its hard to get something interesting for a 3.5 yo and a 7 yo, of course she wants to do the same crafts as the older kids (and why wouldnt she?) so she does, a lot of the time i help her but usually she does the craft in her own way and is always quite pleased with it... she never seems frustrated with the crafts that we do.

We play some board games,(I specifically started doing this more so she can learn turn taking) but when we play things like Candyland or Alphabet Bingo, which is geared for her age, she still is more interested in hoarding up all the pieces and cards for herself.

Ive started doing simple backyard science experiments with the group... she seems to enjoy it and participate...

Dress up, playdough,etc .. all stuff I think that there is opportunity for them to play together or on their own if they choose, but still... she wants exactly what the other kids are useing at the moment (a dress, the same playdough tool as anotherchild)

Sand box.... demos anything anyone else built, like it was put there for her to demolish purely for her enjoyment.... even if they are digging a hole, she'll go plop herself right in the middle of it and look at them smiling while ignoring their requests that she move.

I've worked hard at getting the older kids to ask her nicely instead of just yell at her and they have seemed to have grasped it. Although they do still just yell at her at times. I"ve also tried very hard to get her to understand taking turns, playing nicely with the other kids, and listening to what they are saying ie if they ask you to stop doing something, then please stop doing it. But she either doesnt get it, or chooses not to (I suspect that its the latter). And let me tell you, she has NO problem what so ever telling them if they are doing something she doesnt like!!

She is an absolutly beautiful, innocent looking, adorable child. Big melt your heart brown eyes, ringlette strawberry blond hair! If she pouts or cries it breaks your heart like that! Her mum described her as sweet in nature. And at first this is what I saw, however, the more time I spent quietly watching her interact w/ the other kids (trying to figure out why they seemed to not like her) I noticed that she has this streak in her, she knows full well shes bothering someone, yet she persists despite any protest, all the while looking at them, watching them with her giant brown eyes, smiling and seemingly enjoying the ruckus. When I intervene... she still has the sweet smile on her face and speaks to me in a tiny little sweetie pie voice.

Anyhow, now that I've gone on and on...again... maybe I should think about trying to fill her spot.... I suppose I should gently bring up some of the issues to mom in the meantime so she's not totally shocked if I do decided to replace her. Maybe if she knows whats going on she'll put in some effort as well to help resolve the problem? Can always hope right? Thank you ladies for your input! :)

07-21-2011, 07:13 AM
1 more question... do you think this is typical of a 3.5 yo? I dont, my kids were not like this and the other 3 yo I have looked after in teh past was definatly not like this but she came from a daycare where she was the youngest, she also has 2 older sisters.... Did I just get lucky? I need a full time child, but one that isnt a baby, so 3ish is the ideal age... but am I swapping 1 child for another for all the same difficulties

07-21-2011, 09:57 AM
This is not typical behaviour for a 3 year old or in this case one that is on their way to being 4. The info you gave about the two older sisters tells a lot more. I would mention it to the mom with the idea she may not be aware of what might be happening at home or doesn't realize what is happening. Also it could be the child's way of getting attention in that if she bugs her older sisters mom or dad plays with her. If you can get the mom on board then there is a chance you can get behaviour changes. No parent wants to have their child left out nor do they want their child to be a bully but both things are happening here and it is the child that is suffering. Even if it ticks the parent off royally they need to know so there is time to make changes before the child would start school since that kind of behaviour would not be tolerated. She is beginning her pre-school year. Can you imagine what this child will be like come next Sept in JK! If nothing else you can work on the social skills at your house but start with her behaviour. Just as you would make a child that annoyed their friends or bit, hit, teased shadow with you for the day you may want to try that. All the time she is just standing with you while you make yourself busy (note I didn't say play with her) you can be talking about the play of the other children and ways that she could join in in a positive way and what kinds of play would make her friends not want to play with her. If no one has actually taught her these things then it is only partly her fault so to speak. At least if she is shadowing she isn't bugging anyone - except you.

07-21-2011, 02:52 PM
No, it does not seem to me to be "typical" of a 3 1/2 y/o. At that age, she should know how to share/take turns, how to play alongside kids somewhat co-operatively, and in general how to get along with people. That doesn't mean that she is not capable or that something is "wrong", it means that she hasn't been taught. In addition to being an only child, I would guess that she does not get a lot of social interaction with other kids unless she is at your place. I guess what I mean is that it is "typical" of a child that has not been properly socialized. Mommy and Daddy clearly still think of her as their little baby. Unfortunately, I don't have any more advice than what has been mentioned already. If you can, I would find a way to talk to mom or dad. It may not make a difference, but at least you can say you tried!