It is that time of year - school is in session! A new school year means a year full of learning, growing, and making friends while playing on the playground. Friends are a huge part of a child’s life. Belonging to a group or having a friend helps kids gain self-esteem and teaches them how to relate to others.
When I was young we moved a lot so I always had to make new friends and adjust to new schools. I learned that not all kids are as welcoming as others and that starting a new school year was not always enjoyable. Children should not be afraid to go to school. Schools and playgrounds should be welcoming and fun places for children to go.
What ever happened to the Golden Rule? “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is an awesome general rule for children and adults to live by. It seems like common sense, but obviously it does not always happen that way.
Parents, teach your kids by example. Show them that being friendly and kind to others is a better way to treat people. Also teach them how to put themselves out there and try to find new friends. Making friends is supposed to be fun so teach them to get out there and ask other kids to play. Encourage them to make play dates with other children or to play games together on the playground.
Being a kid can be hard enough; having to deal with a bullying makes it even harder. There are some kids that get bullied and there are kids who are the bullies. Deep down most of these kids just want to be and feel accepted into the group.
If you work with children or have children of your own, there are ways you can prevent bullying. Keep the children engaged! Use age appropriate games and activities to keep children busy as they play. Guide the children to feel the joy of playing together.
Some bullies are just kids who are misguided or are seeking attention. Invite them to choose a game or activity for the group. Having someone reach out to them in a positive way could be what they need to get through whatever is holding them back. Teaching them how to be included in a positive way could change them and solve conflicts.
Let's bring back the “Golden Rule”, encourage the kids to get out there and “Play Friendly!” together.
Anti Bullying Groups
As hard as we try to prevent bullying there is a chance that it will still happen. There are many groups and organizations to support those who are being bullied and help get to the root of the problem.
Many of these organizations have resources online such as chatlines or hotlines for advice on how to deal with a bully in a positive and effective way. Because of these groups, people are becoming more aware of bullying and how to deal with it. Check them out, see links below, if you are having bully problems or if you want to “spread the solution”.