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1. “Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off. This works best if joking is easy for you. It could catch the kid bullying you off guard.”
It can be hard for some kids to stand up for themselves. Some children are shy or may not have the ability to look another child in the eyes and tell him or her to stop.
This is a great opportunity to role play in class or at home. You can do this one-on-one or with a group of other children by acting out different scenarios where bullying might come into play. Your role would then be to coach the child or children through each interaction, showing them through words and actions how to stand tall and be bold.
2: “If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.”
Sometimes, it’s not safe for a child to stand up to a bully, or the child is physically or emotionally unable to do so.
Role playing is also useful here, with your role as coach being to show them ways to get out of a situation. Teach kids to walk away and if a friend is nearby, find that friend and walk together to find a trusted adult. But that’s only half the task:
It’s important to remind teachers, school officials and other parents that it is essential to truly listen to a child who reports being bullied. If a child doesn’t feel heard, he or she likely won’t feel safe finding an adult to help in the future.
3: “Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. They can help you make a plan to stop the bullying.”
Being bullied can cause children to develop anxiety, depression and in some, suicidal thoughts.
It’s important for children to find someone they trust to talk about these feelings. Remind kids about their list of trusted adults that was previously mentioned. Remind them that they aren’t alone and that there are adults who care about them.
Also, teach them the importance of finding help when their feelings are too big to handle. Emphasize that if they’re feeling sad, depressed, anxious or have thoughts about hurting themselves, they need to talk to a parent or other trusted adult immediately.
Discussing the importance of being open about mental health won’t cause your students or children to be depressed or have thoughts of self-harm, but it will let them know that you’re a safe person they turn to if they are feeling that way. You might consider having a confidential “mental health check-in” in your classroom as well
4: “Stay away from places where bullying happens.”
Sometimes, bullying can be avoided just by staying out of a particular location.
If bullying happens in more isolated locations, such as the far corners of the playground or in an empty hall, teach kids to avoid those areas or to walk with a buddy.
Social media, text messaging and other online activities are also likely places where bullying can happen.
If you’re a teacher and your students are online, encourage parents to enact phone/tablet/computer checks on a random basis so that bullying can be caught early on. It’s also important to teach kids that if they see bullying online or are being bullied themselves, to immediately take their device to a trusted adult.
5. “Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.”
Bullying is less likely to occur in places that are well-supervised.
Ensure that areas around your school where unstructured activities are happening (lunch, recess or transition areas especially) are well supervised. If you are at the playground, make sure you or other adults are near the play area and are visible to your children. Teach kids to stay in brightly lit areas where there are nearby adults.
If you’re a teacher, you can even take your class to the playground or around the school and have them point out areas that are safe places to play and those that are less safe. If students point out particular areas where bullying is happening, you might consider approaching administration to ask for additional supervision in those areas.