All alone at Recess!

Article Glossary

Glossary of Terms

At URSTRONG, we believe it’s important to use kids’ language for kids’ problems. That’s why we have our very own, unique language of friendship. Here are some important terms that children, parents, and teachers learn in our program.

Friendship Fire®: Any situation between you and a friend that results in negative feelings.

Mean-on-Purpose: When someone is intentionally unkind to someone else.

Quick Comeback: A very short word or phrase that is used when someone is Mean-on-Purpose. Quick Comebacks are designed to let the other person know that you heard/saw what they did and you’re not okay with it.

Friend-o-meter: A visual tool that assesses the health of friendships, ranging from the healthy zone to the unhealthy zone.

Friend-o-cycle: The normal cycle in a friendship that brings the friendship back to the healthy zone after experiencing a Friendship Fire. The phases of the Friend-o-cycle are: Healthy Friendship – Fire – Confront the issue – Talk-it-Out – Forgive & Forget – Closer & Stronger – Healthy Friendship…

4 Friendship Facts: A set of four facts that help us have realistic expectations in our friendships so we understand what is normal.

  1. No friendship (relationship) is perfect.
  2. Every friendship is different.
  3. Trust & Respect are the two most important qualities of a friendship.
  4. Friendships change…and that’s okay.

Red Shirt Girl and Striped Shirt Boy: Two characters that remind us about the importance of body language.

Friendship Ninja: A Friendship Ninja is someone who surrounds themselves with friends in the healthy zone of the Friend-o-meter. A Friendship Ninja is kind and friendly to everyone. A Friendship Ninja understands the 4 Friendship Facts and puts out their Friendship Fires when they ignite. A Friendship Ninja stands up for themselves and their friends. A Friendship Ninja makes new friends and understands that friendships change…and that’s okay. Above all else, a Friendship Ninja is someone you want to be friends with because they’re true to who they are!

Does your child play alone at recess? Is it breaking your heart? It’s going to be okay. Read this.

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So many parents have admitted to me that they have seen their children playing alone at recess. While some parents accidentally stumble upon this sighting, others have told me they specifically wander over or drive by the school at recess to catch a glimpse of their child in their natural environment. Of course, when they see their child playing alone, they’re devastated. Their heart breaks and they feel desperate to help their child make friends.

Here’s my advice if you see your child playing alone at recess:

  • Don’t watch your child at recess. For the sake of your own mental and emotional wellbeing, just don’t.


  • For children who are introverted or highly sensitive, school is a very draining environment. There’s a lot of noise and stimulus around them in the classroom all day long. Recess, for these children, is their time to ‘get away’ and recharge. Being alone for an introvert is the best part of their day and they crave that freedom!


  • There are so many positives that go along with playing alone at recess. In our Friendology 101 curriculum, the kids are required to spend one lunch recess alone. Teachers discuss what it felt like with them afterwards and I’ll never forget a grade 4 girl telling me that she felt calm! Another child said, “It was so awesome! I got to play EXACTLY what I wanted to play!” Alone time has so many benefits.


  • If your child is having a Friendship Fire® with a friend, sometimes that time and space is exactly what they need. Taking some time away from their friends allows them to clear their mind.


  • Sometimes parents project so many feelings onto their children, when their child’s reality is completely different! Just like with adults, sometimes ‘alone time’ is just what the doctor ordered.


Most of the time, children who play alone at recess CHOOSE to play alone. However, if your child is sad about playing alone at recess time, that’s another story. Check out some of our resources for tips on how to make new friends!

Written by Dana Kerford
Friendship Expert and Founder of URSTRONG