Just seeking reassurance or advice. DD(3.5 years) has been attending a multi-age play-based preschool. I believe she has a crush on a 5 year old boy. She talks about him frequently and makes up stories about how he is a prince and she's a princess and they dance together and get married.... Problem is - apparently he likes to pretend to be a lion. She has been telling me that she has to stay in the sandbox the whole time that she is outside in order to be safe from him. She tells me that he just growls at her and that the "danger" is pretend. Yet I stopped by the school the other day and she did actually spend the whole time that she was outside in the sandbox. The majority of this time she was by herself, standing on the edge of the sandbox, watching the other kids and talking to herself (probably making up stories). The boy did not approach her at all during this time. This has been going on for at least 2-3 weeks now. In other settings she enjoys and plays well with other kids. Not sure what to make of this....
Worrying about my preschooler again....
this isn't about gifted, but ill answer your question anyway. your kid is probably afraid of him but honestly wants to socialize with him and only him, because of the crush probably. does she have other friends? if so they might have withdrawn from her because of the boy. maybe encourage her to actively seek out friends by asking her to find out about something from a friend, and maybe they'll socialize more as a result, or ask the teacher to talk with her or the boy about this. doesn't sound like good socialization to me!
I don't know a lot about her social behavior at school. She did play with the other students when they were in the sandbox. But when they moved on she stayed and the majority of the time she was alone. I do wonder if maybe she is afraid of this boy. My other thought is that it is a sort of self-inflicted rule in her imaginary world that she has to stay in the sandbox. It may sound odd but this actually seems more likely to me. And if that's the case I don't know whether to let it be or to ask the teachers to prompt her to move on? I don't know how long it'll take her to move on to a new 'game' on her own. And in some ways I think it could just be typical 3.5 year old 'parallel-ish' type play?
I honestly don't think this is a huge deal. Ask her if she likes being in the sandbox. Is it fun? Does she like being by herself? Does she like the lion game? If so, let it be. Two of my kids found a lot of preschooler play to be really overwhelming and mostly preferred (and quite enjoyed) watching from the fringes.
If not, suggest strategies for moving to play elsewhere, and ask one of the teachers to encourage her to do so.
At this age, kids are learning social approach skills and developing their own theories and preferences about the social world. There are a lot of odd adjustments as they work it out. My kids went through a lot of odd stages that I didn't completely understand at the time. As they learned and grew, the kinks got worked out. Sometimes it was a bit tough to watch their confusion, but it's all part of the learning.
My kids both spent a lot of time in the sandbox at that age. Neither one really mastered playing with other kids in large group settings. Both of them play really well with each other and a couple of older neighbor kids. Anyway, I think a lot of 'socializing' at pre-school involves observing other kids. :)