October is Bullying Prevention Month. Although bully prevention should be practiced all year round, we bring awareness to it during this particular month. Here at S&S, our commitment is not just to provide products that encompass creativity, happiness, physical wellness, and education, but also to offer reliable, safe, and helpful products so that kids can play and learn together.
So, let’s talk about bullying for a minute. It’s not just about someone calling someone a name, or taking their lunch money. It’s about an imbalance of power between children. A child that is bullying is taking advantage of their power over the other child, be it by popularity, physical strength, or knowledge of hurtful private information. Usually the behavior is repetitive, and can be verbally calling them names, socially leaving them out and encouraging peers to leave them out, or physical bullying. Either way, it’s not okay and we want to help with some tips and ideas to encourage a bully-free zone.
Tips to be Mindful of When Dealing with Bullying
- Do not label the children. The hope is that with some guidance and counseling, the bullying will stop. By calling a child a victim or a bully instead of saying they were bullied or were bullying, you can do more damage. Insinuating that they ARE a bully, and therefore unable to change.
- Find out who else is involved. Just because a child may not be directly doing the name calling or the bullying, doesn’t mean they are not part of the problem. There are children that assist and also reinforce. It could be through laughing, or even encouragement to the child that is bullying.
- Give “outsiders” the tools to help. There are children that may want to help, but are not sure what to do because they are scared of being bullied themselves. Let them know they should tell an adult about the situation that they saw, that it is okay to befriend the child being bullied and ask them if they are okay, and that bullying is not acceptable behavior.
- Check in with children. Ask simple, but open ended questions about bullying. Asking questions like what does bullying mean to you? Why do you think people bully? Who are your friends at school? Who do you sit with at lunch? These can give you insights to anything that might be happening.
- Be a friend. We all know that children mock the behaviors of the adults around them. Teach the children in your presence about kindness, friendship, and confidence.
- Do something. If you’re not sure how to handle a bullying situation, seek resources or help from your own peers. Don’t hesitate because you think it will just stop on its own, or because you think they are just “kids being kids”. Although life gets tough for adults, children should be focusing on playing, learning, and developing into self-confident individuals.
- Create a Safe Space for children to help other children. Many schools have a buddy bench or an area where children can go when they are feeling down, or feeling like they need a friend. When children see someone in this area or sitting on the bench, they have been encouraged to join the child, letting them know they are not all alone. Learn more about the Buddy Bench idea.
Want to create awareness about bully prevention? We have some great ideas to incorporate anti-bullying into your program. Check out our Collaborative Activities for Anti-Bullying.