National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence today – kindness at the heart
Today is the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, with families and early childhood education and care (ECEC) services encouraged to “flex their kindness muscles” in line with the 2022 theme of “building a kindness culture”.
Building a kindness culture in families and organisations will allow children and young people to live a life of belonging, respect and inclusion, Triple P International said.
Carol Markie-Dadds, Country Director for Triple P in Australia said that building children’s social and emotional development is key to achieving a culture based on kindness.
While children aren’t born with a full suite of skills to participate in the world in a kind way, Ms Markie-Dadds said there are some things which educators and parents can do to help:
- Think about other people’s feelings and how their behaviour may impact the other person
- Look at and listen when a friend or another person is talking
- Take turns in games and activities and ask what other children would like to do (not assuming they want to follow)
- Be supportive or by being friendly and including others
- Be a positive and healthy digital citizen
- Stay calm under pressure and solve problems in helpful ways.
Children can encounter bullying in different ways, she continued. It may be that they experience it directly, they are involved in it as a perpetrator, or they may see or hear it happening. Sometimes, a combination of the above factors can leave children feeling confused about what’s next, or how to manage their emotions.
“If a child is experiencing bullying, it’s important not to ignore what they’re telling you – create a positive, safe environment by calmly listening and encouraging them to describe exactly what has happened,” Ms Markie-Dadds said.
“Try to put the emphasis on strength-building, rather than the challenges of the situation, by thinking about things like ‘how can I deal with the problem, what can I learn from this difficult situation, and how might that help me in the future?’
“Children shouldn’t be left to deal with bullying on their own. When adults are aware of what is happening, they can watch more closely, act quickly, and help children learn new skills to prevent and respond to bullying,” she added.
Teaching children coping skills to build resilience and confidence can also help them to respond assertively when the bullying occurs. Children who do the bullying can benefit from learning how to get along with others and to solve problems without harming others.
Caring adults such as parents and educators are ideally positioned to act as role models for children, and as such, adults should be mindful of their own behaviour, and how they treat and speak about others, especially when tired or frustrated.
Triple P offers a number of online programs to support parents to develop skills and support their children. In some regions access to these programs is free of charge. For more information please visit www.triplep-parenting.net.au
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