An engaging, rhyming story that directly addresses the emotional turmoil a child experiences when left out of social activities. Cute illustrations appeal to young readers who are just learning how to cope with feelings of loneliness. The story stresses the importance of making a variety of friends and provides tips to handle conflict.
Helpful Children's Books About Feeling Left Out
A challenging albeit important part of growing up is learning how to cope with feeling excluded from social groups. Kids will naturally feel sad when they don't receive an invitation to a classmate's birthday party or are not included in an impromptu sleepover or playdate. It's normal for a lonely little one to shed a tear or two when peers get together, whether they are intentionally leaving the child out or not. Reading children's books about feeling left out is an excellent way to start a conversation about being socially excluded. The best stories feature characters who are going through the same emotional rollercoaster and learn valuable tools to deal with negative social behaviors.
More Kids' Books About Social Development
Daniel Tiger unexpectedly runs into some friends on the way home from running an errand with his father. Owl and Kittycat had been played together the entire afternoon and appeared to be having a lot of fun. Daniel feels left out since he had not been invited to join them. With the comfort of his mother and father, he learns to accept that he will not always be included in everything. An easy-reader book for kids who will learn a valuable lesson about friendship.
A must-read picture book for every child who has ever experienced a feeling of loneliness and neglect around other kids. This is the story of a boy named Brian who never receives invitations to parties, is never picked for sports teams, and is generally ignored by all of his schoolmates. Everything changes with the arrival of Justin, a brand new student who immediately forms a friendship with Brian. The boys bring out the best in each other and finally receive recognition from others.
A heartwarming graphic novel about a kind owl who is always helping others. The only problem is that most of the critters he encounters are afraid of him. No matter how gentle and friendly Owl behaves, the others will never be his friend. Then one day Owl meets Wormy, another lonely fellow in need of some companionship. The two strike up a special friendship full of new adventures together. An endearing book that strikes the right note for kids who have a hard time making friends.
A gentle story about having compassion for others who do not fit the mold. A little boy is determined to join the Pet Club even though the rules explicitly state that elephants are not allowed. While the rationale for this rule may seem obvious, the truth is that not all elephants are enormous in stature. In fact, one particular pet elephant is smaller than most of the other domesticated animals. Though creative problem-solving, the boy presents an opportunity that includes everyone, no matter what their pets may be. A simple and accessible story that invites discussion around the importance of inclusion and not judging others by appearance.
Lyla has never fit in with the other girls at school. She's quite shy and some say she smells a bit funny. As the odd girl out, Lyla has grown accustomed to being all by herself. When her schoolmate, Ginger, invites all the kids in the class to her birthday party, Lyla is the first to arrive. Ginger is at first hesitant to embrace Lyla's friendship. When the other girls arrive and the party doesn't go according to plan, Lyla proves to be the most loyal, supportive girl by Ginger's side.
Sometimes kids feel excluded simply because they are different from their friends. This gentle story about a circus dog will resonate with readers who have always wanted to belong to a group. Jane is an ordinary pup who is part of a traveling circus filled with animals possessing extraordinary talents. She loves her circus family, but Jane does not believe she adds any value to the performance. A kindly ringmaster teaches her that sometimes just being plain ordinary is an exceptional gift.
This lovely story tugs at the heartstrings of anyone who has ever felt neglected or forgotten. A brand new book arrives at the library and quickly becomes a favorite. As time passes, the popularity of the book fades and soon it is collecting dust on the bookshelf. Eventually the sad title is relegated to the dark basement alongside the other lonely books. When the sweet book eventually finds a new home with a little girl, its spirit is renewed. Lots of relatable life lessons in this darling book.
Simple drawings capture the essence of a lonely boy watching a bunch of other kids playing a ball game. He grows even more forlorn when he observes an energetic dog join in the fun. No one seems to notice him quietly sitting by himself. Eventually someone says hello to him and the power of this single word to transform his mood is palpable.
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Valuable Kids' Books About Loneliness
Getting kids to open up about feeling lonely when friends exclude them is not always easy. It's not uncommon for little ones to bury their feelings or retreat from social interactions when they have been treated unkindly. Some kids react by behaving poorly, getting snappy with their parents, or neglecting responsibilities. A good strategy for parents is to gather together the best kids' books about loneliness. By reading a variety of good stories together, kids will be encouraged to talk about their own experiences and how they relate to the books.
How to Help a Child Who Feels Left Out
No one ever wants to watch a child who feels sad and alone from being left out of social activities. Yet as much as parents and caregivers want to pave a happy path for their children, the hard truth is that these difficult moments are essential for a young person's social maturity. Kids learn invaluable lessons from experiencing a variety of emotions, especially those associated with feeling excluded and alone. Loving adults cannot fix these social dilemmas for a child, but they can provide advice and guidance to help a little one learn to cope. Here are some points to consider when these situations arise.
- Listen with an open heart and mind. Focus less on the actual event and more on how a child is feeling as a result. Some kids are especially sensitive and may overreact emotionally to a situation that would not evoke a response in others. Many times kids do not intend to exclude their peers, and yet those on the outside reel from feelings of loneliness. An important first step is acknowledging these emotions regardless of whether or not you believe there is malicious intent on the part of others.
- Encourage friendships from a variety of activities and settings. Kids who have a very small circle of friends, perhaps only one or two, could be more likely to experience feeling left out. Sometimes friendships turn sour or go through a rocky patch. When this happens to kids who only have a couple of friends, they lack a social safety net and can feel extremely lonely. On the other hand, children with lots of friends have a support system when they go through a difficult period of exclusion.
- Refrain from trying to fix the problem for them. When a parent believes other children are not being kind, a natural reaction is to call out the offenders. The thought of calling the other parents to give them an earful seems like a satisfying proposition. Imagining all of the things to say to the mean kids can temporarily remove the sting. It's important, however, to coach your children to handle the situation all by themselves. By getting involved, parents are actually depriving their kids from developing internal coping mechanisms to handle difficult social scenarios.
- Monitor the use of social media platforms. A pervasive challenge in raising kids today is the excessive use of social media to post pictures of friends having fun together. While the intention may be innocent in nature, an unfortunate side effect is impact on lonely kids who were not invited to such gatherings. Parents need to keep a close eye on the amount of time their kids spend alone scrolling through their social media feeds. Coax kids off their devices by getting them involved in sports, clubs, and other activities.
- Make sure home is a safe place to escape social insecurities. A home free of conflict and stress is just what kids need to recharge their social battery. When children are experiencing problems with friends, they need a comforting place to retreat and work through their emotions. Parents can help by intentionally creating a stable environment. No household is perfect and sometimes it is difficult to keep conflict in check, but parents should do their best from burdening little ones from adult problems, responsibilities, and stressors.