If someone would have told me a few years ago that I would worry about my son’s social skills and whether or not he could make (and keep) friends at age 3, I would have heavily doubted it. But lately I have been worried about it a lot.
Ev started a new school recently and I’m not sure why but what I was most concerned about was whether he was making friends or not. At Ev’s previous program, he was in a room where many of the children had been together since they were infants. When he walked in the room he was swarmed by friends asking him to p lay or wanting to show him something. At his new program, he was going to have to start from scratch.
At pick-up one evening, I stopped at one of the windows to observe Ev and his class on the playground. He was just wandering around by himself, and I got really sad for him. I checked with the teachers every day for the next week, asking if he was spending any time with other children? I started questioning what I thought to be true. I thought Ev was a pro-social kid who made friends easily, but maybe it was just that he had been around all the same children for so long.
Then on two separate occasions, Ev was outwardly mean to two complete strangers. The first instance we were shoe shopping and my husband and I were engaged in a discussion. We looked down and Ev was scowling at another little boy and I’m pretty sure he said, “I don’t like you.” Then, we were at a county fair and Ev told a little boy, “I don’t want to talk to you,” when they were both petting a llama. Why is my child throwing up his defensives before even getting to know someone? I worry that Ev won’t have any friends if he is mean to other children.
For me, learning how to get along well with others is as important of a skill as learning how to read. For the rest of his life, Ev will have to interact with other people on some level and I want him to be good at it. It’s also a tough skill to learn later in life.
I also just don’t want him to be lonely. I was getting really worried that without connections at school, Ev would have a tough time focusing on playing and learning because he would feel alone. So, I was panicking.
Luckily, the director at Ev’s school reassured me that it’s developmentally appropriate for children Ev’s age to be a little egocentric and want to be by themselves. His teachers also told me that he does in fact work well with others during the school day, engages in good conversations during meals and is even making some friends. I feel a little better. In the mean time, I am just going to work on sharing, using nice words at home and hope for the best.