June 13, 2018
Bullying. You read about in parenting articles in magazines and newspapers, hear about it on TV, and it’s a common topic online. The American Psychological Association best describes bullying as a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions.
You may not think bullying can start in your child’s early preschool years, but the truth is, preschoolers are not too young to demonstrate bullying behavior. So, how can we recognize the signs and ensure our children are not bullies or the target of bullying?
Here are a few examples of bullying that happen in a preschool classroom, as well as simple ways to correct the behavior.
If your child called another child a mean name, use it as a tool to guide him or her in building empathy. Ask your child, ‘How would this make you feel if he called you the same name?’ or ‘Is this how we treat our friends?’ Their answers should cause them to think about that before repeating that behavior. Each reminder is a teachable moment.
Hitting, shoving, and biting are all examples of physical bullying. If your child shoves another child on the playground, ask your child why this is not an acceptable way to treat someone. Encourage your child to explain in their words how they would want to be treated. Explain the hands are for hugging and helping, and teeth are for chewing!
When a child snatches a toy from another, it’s an opportunity to teach patience by telling them, “Sally, you can have your turn in five minutes when Johnny is finished.” To help teach children the way to properly use a toy someone else is using, re-enact it to demonstrate how the interaction should go.
Disrespect to Others Property
At Kiddie Academy, one of our rules is to always demonstrate respect for each other and our property. For example, it’s not respectable to scribble on another student’s artwork, and it is not acceptable to disrespect another child by saying something mean about them.
Remember that communication is key. Teach children that raising their voice is not a kind behavior, and using their words in a calm manner will help them to convey what they are trying to say.
Kiddie Academy focuses on specific character values each month, looking for teachable moments in the classroom to reinforce the behavior that demonstrates the value. Teaching our children responsibility and empathy go a long way in molding their little minds. And for children who are the target of bullying, we ask ourselves: what can we do to make that child feel better? Do they want a hug? Would they like to play in another learning area with you? Do they need a few minutes to themselves?
A few of the most important tools for parents to remember when it comes to ensuring their children are not partaking in bullying behaviors are:
– consistency, not wavering on your reactions when it comes to problem behaviors
– modeling appropriate behavior, when you are confronted with an issue or stressful situation, how do you react? Your little one watches everything you do so be sure to set a good example!
– teaching children appropriate behaviors in lieu of these aggressive behaviors.
Take a look at our Suggested Literature
What Does it Mean To Be Kind?, by Rana DiOrio
Stop Picking on Me, by Pay Thomas and Lesley Harker
The Berenstain Bears and the Bully , by Stan Berenstain
Daniel Chooses To Be Kind, by Rachel Kalban
Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!
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