16 answers

Help for 5 Year Old Who Says That She Has No Friends

I am looking for some advice on what to do for my daughter who is a very bright and sensitive kindergartener. She says that no one plays with her but when I pick her up at school all sorts of kids are yelling bye to her so I know that she is liked. She says that she does not play with them or they do not play with her, in the classroom and outside. I asked daycare if she plays with the kids (children she has known all her life)and she said that if they are outside then she will play with the kids but inside she just hangs back or will just sit and color or draw. It makes me very sad to know that she does not play with anybody. She has never really played on her own, occasionally she will have her imagination kick in and she will play but mostly she is all about learning something or drawing something. She will play with her 4 year old brother pretty well but she always asks him if he will play with her. I do not know what to do to boost her self confidence. She is very shy around other children but will speak with adults usually without any problems. I think that it is because any adults she knows she knows that they love her unconditionally and she is not sure if other children will like her. What can I do for her? Any suggestions will be so appreciated. Thank you

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

hi there! I don't really have any kind of answer for you, because I am going through something very similar with my 5 yo daughter and it is devastating. I will definetly be keeping an eye on the responses you get. Anyways, thanks for asking the question, and I guess we aren't alone.
Have a good one,
and good luck

More Answers


Your question really tugged at my heartstrings.

First, I'm sorry to know that you lost your husband .. and that your kids lost their Dad. It can have effects on your daughter that you are not even aware of.. and that she might not be able to express. Little kids are afraid of rejection just like us, There is a possibility that in her young mind, she somehow feels like she "did" something to make her dad "go away" I know I felt like that when my mom died, and I was a teenager!

That aside, I and my younger daughter were both shy with other kids, and had no real friends till 12 or 13. Maybe it's a genetic personality trait? We both have high IQ's and both of us took a while to figure out how to "be" around other people. Relating to grown-ups was no problem, but we were "different" than out peers, and that's a hard thing to be when you're that age.

To make it easier, try some play-dates where you can keep an eye on the interactions. Have her pick a classmate for a one-on-one visit, or at least keep it even numbers of girls. Odd numbers of girls usually turn ugly, it's easier to create the "odd girl out".

I know seeing this is hard for you. Maybe you could find some enrichment programs, or if your school has a gifted and talented program, you should consider having her tested for that. Smarter kids often have trouble getting along with their classmates, but are at ease with other kids like themselves, or with grownups.

I wish I had some more helpful advice...


1 mom found this helpful


May I express my deepest condolences to you and your family. Had you not mentioned this, perhaps a different response would have been warranted. But it seems as though your daughter is dealing with her loss in her own way. Do you attend a church, where you can openly discuss death with her and members of the church where she feels comfortable? I've heard that giving her the permission to openly discuss her feelings may just open her up. It looks like this is a part of her healing process. Follow her lead. If she wants to talk, let her. If not, don't push her to. Just be there for her. Allow her to grieve, and she will come around in her own time. I'm sure her friends don't know how to comfort her, so they let her be. She will have friends. It's a confusing time, especially for children. I hope you have family and friends to be there for you as well. All in all, you have my prayers for peace and comfort during these extremely difficult times.

1 mom found this helpful

hi D.,

you shoudl probably start creating ways to invite class members over , and try and initiate a friend ship

playdates are the best way to teach your child HOW to make friends and the right way to play.


hi there! I don't really have any kind of answer for you, because I am going through something very similar with my 5 yo daughter and it is devastating. I will definetly be keeping an eye on the responses you get. Anyways, thanks for asking the question, and I guess we aren't alone.
Have a good one,
and good luck

D., this is very normal...especially for a girl of that age. My daughter grew up in daycare center and preschool since one. She was always the quiet one in the corner due to both her age and stature (always the youngest and the smallest). If other kids did not "force" her to join the activities, she would just sit and draw. Today she is almost 9 and out of her shell since 2nd grade. She is still resists new activities that do not include her small circle of close friends. Like your daughter she is very bright, extremely musical and loves arts and crafts. I do find the fact that she can entertain herself without needing a playdate is a good thing. Those that need endless external activities, like my son, have trouble sitting still and do quiet things like reading. I would say...count your blessings.

setting up lots of playdates so that she can get to know kids on a one on one environment. Also ask the teacher to facilitate on her behalf. Make that first move for her so to speak, and ask them to think carefully when partnering her with others. Your daycare seems really unresponsive and uncaring fwiw.

That is sad. My daughter is also pretty shy and doesn't make friends too easily...all the kids at her school say goodbye to her and she snubs them..
What I did to help break the ice was to have a candy making party at my house and invited her class over and some friends. It was a big hit..(and a big mess) we also had an inflatable thing in the yard for de-energizing the hyper kids.. lol..
It sounds like she doesn't know how to get involved, and your teacher should help her with that..

Not sure if this will help but I was just speaking to a children's psychologist about my four year old son being very shy and not confident. I was asking if it is genetic b/c my husband and I were pretty shy when we were young. He said it is learned and suggested that next time I take him to the park strike up a conversation with the person next to me. Keep setting examples of being confident and outgoing and they too will pick up on it. I just heard the advice yesterday and will be trying it out. Hope this helps!
Also, noticed that you are recently widowed could she be depressed about that?

Hi D.,

My son from the time he was in pre-school was constantly saying no one will play with him in class or at recess. He, like your daughter was always very bright and was always doing things creative (drawing, coloring, etc.) and things that would help him learn. He tended to be happier with older children that were able to "challenge" him (he was adding and subtracting as well as spelling words at 4). He was reading by that age too. I spoke to the teacher at preschool and she said he had many friends in the class but was with her alot during some lessons because he complained the "work" was too easy, so she made up more difficult lessons for him. In Kindergarten when he said the same thing (that no one would play with him at recess) I asked if the friends he had in class were playing and who they played with. He said all his friends were playing tag and he didnt like that game bc all you do is run around and try to catch each other - no point to it, then he became close with a girl and they played together, usually some type of game he made up(acting out characters with some sort of accomplishment at the end of the game). That friendship went on into the 1st grade and they got some other kids involved too (but my son tried to limit the number of players - he likes the one-on-one playing up to four at a time- more than that he shys away). At the end of 1st grade, the girl said she didnt want to be friends anymore (I think bc she was being teased by her other girl friends - she and my son used to hold hands and she gave him a kiss on the cheek a couple of times). He was fine with that and had made some other friends to play his games but there were still times he would say no one would play with him. He is now in 2nd grade doing 4th and 5th grade math and reading at a 5th-6th grade level. He plays on the swings at recess and doesnt really complain too much about no one wanting to play with him (I did discuss with him during the tag thing that it wasnt that they didnt want to play with him but that he didnt want to play what they were playing- there is a difference). I too am always concerned that he will have a low self esteem or self confidence. Because of this I am ALWAYS telling him how proud I am of him and that he should be proud of himself. He will find his place just like your daughter will. Discuss with her what the other kids are doing during recess maybe it is similar that they are playing a game she sees no point to. It may be that she doesnt want to play the game and not that they dont want to play with her. Sorry for all the rambling but I have been going through this for a few years and am still bothered whenever he doesnt want to play with friends or says no one played with him (I have watched him at Cub Scouts and it seems that a few boys gravitate toward him or copy something he does). Again sorry for the long response and I hope all gets better soon. Also I am sorry for your family's loss. M.

There is a chance that your daughter is dealing with issues related to her father's death. I would encourage you to have her speak to a child specialist if she is not already. Both she and your son. Good luck and know that the moms are here for you.

i am so sorry for your loss. i have no advice for you but i would think your loss may have a profound effect on her, even if you or she doesnt realize the correlation. maybe go speak to someone who is experienced with children, or find a support group. again, i am sorry.

I totally feel for you. I am so sorry about your loss. I do not know how you must be coping, but for your children this loss is something that is probably a big reason for the said issues at school. Just talking and comforting are great, but maybe helping her deal with her loss is the issue. She may feel a little lost and distracted in the class room where she can't escape to a swing or share a see-saw. I'm no expert,but I am a mother of a kindergartener and a pre-schooler. Maybe figure out how to help her cope with her loss and encourage more independance in her. Give her chores that are easy and that are rewarding like setting the table or vaccuuming the living room. Pouring her own juice and cereal. Then set up some playdates for her with some of the girls from class that she is interested in. At the play gound first, not at home. Home might be too much at first. Or get her into a dance class, gymnastic's, some kind of sport, swimming lessons with the recreation dept. or ymca in your town. This will all build confidence and help her social skills. Just be as involved as you can be and be there for her. I have great talks with my son every night about whatever he wants to talk about and I don't press him about friends so much, I'd encourage the learning aspect. That is so important. She is probably a super brilliant child. I wouldn't worry too much. She'll come around. All the best. -J. H.
P.S. I wouldn't worry about looking for a regular "shrink", you may find that the school psychologist is a wonderful start and alternative. Growing up, I always felt comfortable talking with my school psychologist. They deal with these issues everyday and really help you get a sense of self worth. My mother tried everything in her power to make us happy, but that one person at school who was not emotionally involved and who had a clear and open perspective to say, "hey, what your feeling is 100% normal and you will get through it. Tomorrow will always be a better day." That really helped me and it never bothered my mother because she never had to make special appointments for me and she never had to worry about health insurance. It was like going to a special class that was all about me.

I think that unless the teacher says that there is a problem(as in she is being bullied or excluded) that you shouldn't do anything. It's hard but we shouldn't do everything for our children, they have to learn how to interact on their own. Gone are the days of all the kids in the neighborhood running around in their crowd, now kids are in more structured activites and it's harder for them to figure out where they fit in, but she will. 2 of my kids are shy, one is now in the third grade(he'll be 8 in a couple of weeks) and the other is almost 5...they have made great strides in dealing with their peers and each year it gets better and easier for them.(they would much rather talk to the adult in the room as well)You can give your daughter ideas and examples of how to play with the kids...but seriously that's all I would do.Best of luck, she will find her way I promise, and she'll be more confident when she does it herself....(I would also have the talk about not all kids will like her and that's okay, and she won't like everyone but they need to treat each other with respect even if they don't play together...give examples from your life)Best of luck!

I, too, am so sorry about your recent loss. Likely, your daughter's loss of her father may be affecting her in school. I assume you have talked with the daycare provider about this. I don't know how day care works, but at pre-school, the teachers are really in tune to social skills and I know they even offer parenting classes and after school clubs for the kids to help them integrate better with their peers. Is there a local preschool you could go to and ask if they have this sort of program? I don't know where you live, but at Alcott Montessori in Scarsdale, there is a program like that.... I don't think you need to be enrolled at the school to participate.

Good luck and I hope all works out. It's so sad to see our kids unhappy....

Hi D.
I think you should try talking to her teacher. Ask how she behaves with the other children when you aren't there. If she isn't playing with them, is it because they don't play w/her? or does she not join in with them? Also, how does she behave in a group setting when the whole class does something together? You might gain some insight. Also, ask the teacher for some suggestons, afterall, she sees these children everyday!
You could also ask you daughter if she would like to invite any of the children from her class over for a play date.Encourage, but I wouldn't force. She may feel more confident at her own home and a one on one basis. That should help her to make some friendships.
Other than that, the only other thing I can think of is to enroll her in some kind of class. What kind of things does she like? I think you said coloring, so maybe an art or crafts class. Does she like dancing or swiming, etc...? Maybe an activity she like would help.
Good Luck, I know how hard it is to be there, I have a little girl in kindregarten too. Keep us posted!

Hi, there. I am so sorry for your loss and I am thinking maybe it has something to do with your child's behaviour. Who knows? Kids are so complex, their perception of life is so much different then ours, God only knows what is in her mind! I am not the kind of person who would run to a psychologist the minute the child acts weired (even though I study pshychology), but in your case one might actually help. The key is the find the right one. Maybe the school could recommend one. You could try and see what happens. They have certain ways to talk to kids, and to interpret their answers. True, some of them try hard to find something wrong with the kid, but I think a good one would tell you "lady, go home and relax, it will pass" if that is the case.
Your child is probably going through a phase, nothing serious, but I am a mother and I know I would do something about it to get my piece of mind. So for your sake, consult a child pshychologist. You are probably under a lot of stress these days, so the child picks up on that, too.
All I know for sure is that you shouldn't make a big deal out of it with her. Don't press her, don't insist for her to join other kids playing, let her take her time. The more you'll stress the issue, the longer she'll keep this behaviour, 'cause it gets her a lot of attention from you. You know what I mean? Good luckk and let me know how it goes.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.