10 Ways to Stop Bullying

by Alice Drinkworth, Demand Media
    Bullying is not OK.

    Bullying is not OK.

    Bullying comes in many forms. Some kids might call others names or tease them for the clothes they wear. Bullies can get physical by pushing or hitting other kids, or be more subtle by excluding others from play. If your child is dealing with a bully at school or at day care, try these strategies to stop the behavior.

    Avoid the Bully

    You don’t have to switch schools, but sometimes the easiest way to keep from being bullied is to avoid the bully. If the bully is playing with the blocks, suggest your child play with the cars. Emphasize that she doesn't have to be friends with everyone, and a bully is not being a good friend.

    Say No

    Bullying is not OK. Teach your preschooler the words to stop a bully in his tracks. Young children do not have the social skills or maturity to know what to say in the situation, so pass on some key phrases: "I don’t like it when you do that," "I don’t like it when you say that to me," or "Please stop doing that."

    Be Brave

    Bullies are looking for weakness. Teach your child to stand up to a bully. If she looks him in the eye, it might scare him.

    Practice Responses

    It can be hard for small children to be brave when facing a bully. Practice at home by acting out situations so your child will be better prepared to handle them at preschool or day care.

    Stay Calm

    Bullies sometimes pick on people to make them cry or get mad. Tell your child to stay calm in the face of a bully. Getting mad or angry will encourage the bully. Help your child learn to stay calm by freezing your faces while looking in a mirror.

    Tell a Teacher

    Talk to the teacher about the situation. Ask her about classroom rules and discipline. You might learn there is more to the story than your child is telling you.

    Get Involved

    Volunteer in the classroom to watch what is going on with your child. Stop bullying behavior when you see it, using the same words you taught your child: "Please stop doing that."

    Read About Bullies

    Bullying is a common problem. Read books to your child about bullies and how other people handled them. These books are appropriate for preschool kids and talk about bully situations: "The Bully Blockers Club" by Teresa Bateman; "Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon" by Patty Lovell; "The Recess Queen" by Alexis O'Neill; and "Stop Picking on Me" by Pat Thomas.

    Be a Friend

    If it is your child who is the bully, talk to her about being a good friend. Teach her to treat others with respect and kindness, and praise her when she does to reinforce positive interactions.

    Be a Good Example

    Small children learn from example. Do not ridicule or intimidate others. Bullying is not OK for adults either.

    About the Author

    Alice Drinkworth has been a writer and journalist since 1995. She has written for community newspapers, college magazines and Salon.com. Drinkworth earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and won a media award for her in-depth coverage of local politics. She is also a certified master gardener.

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