Bullying Prevention Month
How To Teach Kids About Bullying
In 2019, one out of five school-age children reported being bullied by their peers. Children who are the victims of bullying can face emotional damage for years, even into adulthood.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and it serves as a reminder for parents and providers to talk to kids about bullying. The behaviors children learn at home are the ones they take with them to child care centers and classrooms. Below are tips for parents, providers and teachers on talking to kids about bullying.
Anti-Bullying Tips For
Teachers and Providers
1. Understand the Types of Bullying
Not all bullying looks like it does in the movies with kids getting pushed into lockers. Today, bullying takes on many forms including physical, social, emotional and cyber. Understanding these four kinds of bullying can help you better identify them.
Many people are familiar with physical and emotional bullying, but social and cyberbullying take place just as often. Social bullying occurs when kids try to ruin the reputation of a peer through gossip, name-calling or rumors. Cyberbullying is also increasing as kids are getting on social media at younger ages. Cyberbullying can come through texts, social media and intimidation online.
2. Teach Tolerance and Empathy
It’s important to start teaching children empathy and respect at a very young age. Teach kids what it means to be kind to one another and why it’s important. It’s crucial to also teach kids to accept differences among people. Introduce the children in your care to different cultures, religions and worldviews. Remind kids daily that these differences are to be celebrated, not ridiculed.
3. Talk To Parents
Be sure to keep parents in the loop if you see any evidence of bullying. Talking to parents early can help them address the root of the problem at home. Don’t ignore warning signs and assume the bullying will go away. Instead, arrange a meeting with both the bully and the bullied’s parents to talk about what you’ve seen.
Anti-Bullying Tips For
1. Lead By Example
Children are heavily influenced by the behavior of their parents. It has been shown that exposure to domestic violence and harsh punishments at home can increase bullying at school. On the flip side, nurturing activities like reading and eating dinner together have been linked to fewer instances of bullying. Essentially, when children feel safe and cared for at home, they’re less likely to act out and bully at school.
Lead by example with your children by showing people kindness. Demonstrate how to treat others by interacting with everyone from waiters to maintenance workers respectfully.
2. Teach Your Child To Be Assertive
In addition to kindness, it’s a good idea to teach your child assertiveness in the event they do face a bully. Teach them to stand up for themselves and help them identify the bullying behavior and respond in a way that de-escalates the tension. Your child should not respond with insults or inflammatory remarks. Instead, teach them to say things like “It’s not ok to call me that” or “I don’t like it when you (insert behavior here).”
3. Look For The Root Cause
Bullying doesn’t just come out of nowhere. Oftentimes, there’s a direct reason why kids start to bully their peers. If you’re told that your child has been bullying others, search for the deeper cause. Perhaps they feel insecure about themselves, and they’re taking it out on others. If this is the case, teach your child to be self-confident and help them identify things they do love about themselves. Teach kids to focus on themselves and their hobbies and interests, rather than comparing themselves to other children. Teach your child self-soothing techniques and healthy ways to express anger. Maker it clear that it’s never ok to take anger out on another person through insults or physical violence.
We All Play A Role In Bullying Prevention Month
Parents, providers and teachers all play an important role in putting a stop to the cycle of bullying. Remember that kids look up to you and they’re constantly watching you for queues on how to act.
Looking for ideas on how to teach kindness to your kids? Check out our blog on activities for developing empathy.
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