ERIC Number: ED419624
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-May
Loneliness in Young Children. ERIC Digest.
Bullock, Janis R.
Loneliness is a significant problem than can predispose young children to immediate and long-term negative consequences. This Digest presents an overview of loneliness, with suggestions for practitioners on how they can apply the research in early childhood settings. Children who feel lonely often experience poor peer relationships and feelings of sadness, malaise, boredom, and alienation. Factors that contribute to feelings of loneliness in young children include a family move, conflict within the home or the divorce of parents, rejection by peers, and lack of social skills. By asking children about their feelings and through careful observation, teachers can gain insights into children's loneliness. Teachers can focus on a number of different areas that may suggest signs of loneliness, including whether the child appears timid or anxious and whether the child is rejected by playmates. Children are rejected for many reasons, and teachers will need to assess the circumstances that seem to lead to the rejection. Children who are aggressive report the greatest degrees of loneliness. Teachers can point out the effects of the child's behavior on others, show the child how to adapt to the ongoing play, or help the child to clearly communicate feelings and desires. Children who are neglected or withdrawn also report feelings of loneliness. If children lack certain skills, the teacher can focus on giving suggestions that the child can implement. Children who are victimized by others believe that school is an unsafe and threatening place, and often express a dislike for school. Teachers can provide firm but supportive suggestions to the aggressor. Teachers can also think about how the curricula might be helpful to a child who is feeling lonely; they can also develop close relationships with children and communicate with their primary caregivers to gain valuable insights and guidance. (LPP)
Descriptors: Classroom Techniques, Early Childhood Education, Emotional Problems, Friendship, Interpersonal Competence, Interpersonal Relationship, Intervention, Loneliness, Observation, Peer Acceptance, Peer Relationship, Rejection (Psychology), Social Development, Social Isolation, Teacher Role, Young Children
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Champaign, IL.