What to Do If Your Child Doesn't Play with Anyone at School

My child doesn't play with anyone at school! If you're a parent and you're going through this situation, you'll certainly want to fix it. Human beings are naturally sociable and, with a little help, your child will start to relate better to their peers.
What to Do If Your Child Doesn't Play with Anyone at School

Last update: 09 January, 2021

It’s very important for children to have a good social life. In addition to this, sharing with other children of their age teaches them important values. So, if your child doesn’t play with anyone at school, should you be concerned?

In this post, you’ll see the most common reasons which make children isolate themselves from others. We’ll also tell you what you can do to help them integrate.

My child doesn’t play with anyone at school: What can I do?

There are many reasons why a child may not want to socialize at school. Have a look at them one by one to get a better understanding of what’s going on with your child. Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Overprotecting your child at home and not giving them much freedom will make them unable to interact with others. Their spirit won’t be free and they won’t feel confident in themselves.
  • They may have had problems with tother children or some other sort of negative experience. This may have had a deep effect on them, and they now prefer to be on their own.
  • Also, if they’re an only child, they may always want to get their own way and do things their own way. This is something that other children don’t like and that might be a reason why they don’t want to let them play with them.
  • They may have joined the class late when everyone else in the class already had their friends and their groups. This can make it very difficult for them to make new friends.
What to Do If Your Child Doesn't Play with Anyone at School

Don’t be too quick to come to the conclusion that your child is unsociable. The real reason may be shyness. Shy children have a hard time relating to people they barely know. At the same time, if they’re in the company of family members or your friends’ children, they’ll act normally.

How can I help my child relate to other children at school?

“What if my child doesn’t play with anyone at school, what can I do for them?”

You may have asked yourself this question often, and rightly so. After all, you’re the parent, and you’re the best person to help your child through this. Of course, it’s also important that you communicate with your child’s teachers so that they’re aware of the situation and can help.

Improve your child’s self-confidence

If you’ve noticed that your child has trouble socializing because they don’t feel secure, then get to work! The best way is to find out what their talents are, and observe them carefully to see where they excel.

Once you’re sure about this, then try to convince them that they’re good at it, and then encourage them to share their skills with other children. Little by little, they’ll become more confident about showing those skills in front of others.

Teach them to share and take others’ opinions into account

If the reason why your child doesn’t play with anyone is that they always want to get their own way, then you need to teach them to listen to others and to take their opinions into account. This is more difficult if your child is an only child. If they are, then you’ll have to try a lot harder to teach them to share.

What to Do If Your Child Doesn't Play with Anyone at School

Help them overcome their shyness

You should never scold your child for being shy, as this won’t help them at all. However, neither should you leave things as they are, because they’ll find it difficult to get by on their own. A good option is to regularly invite friends over to your house and, in this way, create bigger groups so that they get used to social environments.

Remember to congratulate them privately when you notice them making progress, albeit slowly. Tell them how proud you are of them. In this area, self-esteem also comes into play; don’t force them to do things they don’t want to do.

However, at the same time, show them that they’re capable of doing lots of things if they put their mind to it.

Give them more freedom

Your child won’t make any progress if you’re constantly mentioning their fears to them. In that way, they’ll always be afraid to do things that other children their age can do without a problem.

So, instead of overprotecting them, let them make mistakes, so that they can learn from them. Neither should you be telling them to keep quiet all the time, as you’ll only stop them from learning to express their feelings.

In short, it can be very difficult for some children to socialize. So, don’t just say, “My child doesn’t play with anyone at school!” Help them overcome whatever is getting in their way. In this way, they’ll learn to build relationships, something that’ll help them a lot in adult life.

As a last resort, you always have the option to seek professional help if you feel there’s no other way.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Villanueva, V., & Nancy, B. (1997). Socialización y comportamiento infantil según el género. Mitológicas.
  • Olivares, J., Rosa, A. I., Piqueras, J. A., Sánchez-Meca, J., Méndez, X., & García-López, L. J. (2002). Timidez y fobia social en niños y adolescentes: Un campo emrgente. Psicologia Conductual. http://doi.org/10.1016/S0975-3575(11)80026-X

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.