Everyone is susceptible to bullying and anyone can be a victim in certain situations. So let's talk about how to prepare people and give them the skills they need to hold their heads up and take good care of each other.
Let's start with very young children 0-3. That's when most of our attitudes are formed.
The process starts with awareness of self. We talked about Floortime as being a good model for supporting children’s self-awareness by letting them lead the play on regular occasions. This week we’re going to extend that to a new skill called laptime.
Laptime is time spent reading or talking about emotions in close physical contact with your child. It's time spent together, looking at books or magazines, reading and speculating how characters, ourselves, or others in the world might feel.
It's also chatting about facial, body, and language expressions that help us know what others are experiencing outside of ourselves. It's based on this premise that all feelings are OK, all actions (and words) are not.
Laptime is a time for questioning and wondering about human interaction in the presence of a non-judgemental and trusted person. It's an awesome way to teach emotions to kids ages 0-8+. And it's information they'll need when it comes to talking about bullies. They'll eventually need to be able to "read" people well in the world they'll be growing up in.
Did you know that 30% of families in the United States don’t read to their kids at all?
That's a lot of missed opportunities to teach their children about emotions and empathy. No wonder full-grown people run around pummelling each other. Do people realize that lack of empathy leads to violence and crime? And that there's a connection between reading and emotional awareness and regulation.
The Danes, who've been consistently voted the happiest people in the world, already know what works to teach emotions. They have a program. It's called Step By Step and it teaches young children to identify emotions by looking at pictures of faces and talking about feelings.
One super-easy way to do this is to sit down with a parenting magazine and start to enjoy it with your toddler in the room. When they sit down next to you to look, it gives the perfect opportunity to talk about emotions together in a really relaxed and fun way.
Here's a more detailed look at Bullying if you're interested in learning more.
If you sometimes struggle with finding the right words to use in tricky parenting situations like whining, hitting, biting, cleaning up, tattling, or procrastination, Magic Words is the ebook for you. It's free and you get it instantly when you join us here.
Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.