As a parent it can be difficult to watch your child be excluded, and often the playground is where it manifests the most. In the classroom the teacher is there to regulate interaction, and so the child is included, often by force. When they get out on the playground, this is when the division is most obvious, and the most painful.
The following is a look at things you can do to help your child break into the playground clique:
1. Start with one friend. If your child is socially awkward, or just was not fortunate enough to be included in the choice for the playground clique, then facing several of their peers and being rejected can be difficult. Facing one is easier than facing several. So, instead of having them attempt acceptance and be rejected by the group, consider having them invite one member of the clique over for a playdate. Often making a friend in the group is the fastest, easiest way to break into the clique.
If your child does not know who to ask over, or try to befriend, then talk to their teacher, explain the situation, and ask them for an idea of which child will be best for helping your kid break into the group. It would be very hard on your child if the person they invite over rejects them, so choose wisely. It can really help your child to have the right friend, one that will help them get in the group, and stay kind and loyal to them.
2. Be cool. As horrible as it sounds, one of the best things you can do to help your child break into a playground clique is to help them have the coolest clothes, the neatest gadget, or the best toy. When kids get older it is the one with the best cell phone, the most tricked out car, or something else. Playground cliques are superficial, and are about who can benefit you the most, so if your child really wants to be in one, you have to play the game.
3. Help your child not care. One of the best things you can do for your child is help them recognize that their value is not tied up in which playground clique they are a part of. In fact, if they can learn to like themselves for them, and not be worried about what other people think, they will be more easily accepted into the group. Those with the highest confidence and the most self-assured personality are going to be those that are most popular in the playground because they do not let anyone else run over them.
4. Help your child find cliques through outside activities. If your child is struggling on the playground, help them find acceptance elsewhere with sport teams, dance teams, church youth groups, 4-H clubs, etc.
Your child will soon learn that acceptance on the playground is not the only thing that matters, but in the meantime it can feel like their whole world is falling apart if they are not getting that acceptance. So, help them feel accepted and have fun and do what you can to get them in the group, but if it is not working, be sure to help them find their own identity and feel self worth despite that.