By Dr. Virginia Shiller, Family Psychologist
My daughter just started kindergarten and her best friend from preschool is in her class. Both girls are very bright and articulate. They went to a very academic preschool and most of the work so far has been review for them.
The problem is they are often in trouble together, talking, laughing etc. The teacher has let me know she has more of a problem with the other child who appears to be more of a leader. I am concerned that my daughter will continue to be distracted by the presence of her friend and the desire to please her, etc. Although I like her teacher very much I am considering requesting a transfer to another class.
While a transfer to another class may be a possible solution, it would probably be best to make an effort to improve the situation in the current classroom. Changes can be stressful for children, and there is always the potential for an unknown difficulty to arise in a new classroom. And, if only a short time has elapsed since school has begun, the two girls may temporarily be sticking together for comfort, before making strides to establish new friendships.
Brainstorm with the teacher about ways you might work to help your daughter find new friends. Ask the teacher to suggest other children who might be compatible with your daughter, and see if you can arrange play dates with other classmates. Chat with other parents who attend school events, and keep an eye out for parents eager to foster new friendships. And respectfully inquire with your daughter's teacher whether she sometimes places children in pairs or groups aimed at fostering new friendships and changing social dynamics.
Also, discuss the curriculum with the teacher, and explore ways in which your daughter might be more challenged in the classroom. While it may not be realistic for the teacher to provide individualized programs for the more advanced children, he or she could likely add elements to the curriculum to keep your daughter more engaged with work. Opportunities to work on self-paced computer programs are an option in many classrooms, as well as the possibility of doing accompanying artwork when worksheets are finished quickly.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
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