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Third grade is when the social structures for children start falling into place.  Up until 3rd grade, kids may not know if they are popular or not or why they didn’t get invited to the birthday party that everyone else got invited to.  Third grade brings about a shift and suddenly kids begin seeing the division between themselves and others.

Kids have a variety of reactions to this.  They may complain about not having friends,  make poor decisions in order to get noticed by the “cool” kids or withdraw completely.  As a parent, keep in mind that social navigation is tough.  Kids may float from one group to another, have a variety of “on and off” friends or start seeing themselves in a negative light.

If your child is struggling socially, find a way to get involved in activities where he/she thrives.  Join a sports team with kids from different schools, get a membership to a climbing gym or join a community chess club.  Before your child falls too far,  put things in place to balance out the social roller coaster at school.

Things will level out eventually, at least they do for most kids.  Be patient and find a way to balance things out so that your child is thriving in at least one area.

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