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5 Preschool Games to Keep Bullying Behaviors at Bay

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October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In preschool, prevention is the name of the game. At this age, children aren’t really capable of intentionally bullying another quite yet, and they’re too young for cyber bullying. But, they will have disagreements with peers and act out of frustration. 

In the KinderCare classroom, we give kids the skills they need to be successful students and humans! As they move through our program, we work on anti-bullying skills like thinking before acting, naming and managing emotions, problem-solving, and mental flexibility. All of these lessons help children manage friendships, resolve conflicts, build identity, and instill self-confidence – which are all bully-busting traits!

While bullying is typically a no-fun subject, there are tons of fun ways to help your preschooler grow a healthy sense of self and a respect for others. Try these five activities for preschoolers at home and with friends to help stop bullying from ever starting:

• Play “guess who?”
See if your child can guess who you’re thinking of, just by your description of the person! Start simple, describing the person’s favorite toy or the color of their hair. This game will teach your child to think about people’s defining characteristics and can start a conversation about what makes us all so beautifully different. 

• Craft family portraits
Gather your child’s favorite art supplies and ask them to craft a picture of a few different families in your circle, including your own! Talk openly about how your friends’ families are the same or different from your own and point out how each family in your circle brings something special to your life. No matter what sets families apart, one thing is the same – they all love each other very much!

• Chart similarities and differences
Differences are beautiful! Help your child recognize and accept what makes everyone different while also introducing some basic math concepts. Together, make a simple chart of characteristics, hobbies, and traits (like: tall, funny, wears glasses, speaks Spanish, loves donuts, etc.) and see how all the people in your life add variety to your community. Reflect on how each person shines in their own unique way.

• Imagine being someone else 
How does pretend play foster empathy? When kids pretend to be someone else (or even the family pet!) they are exploring the hearts and minds of others which helps them think about the world from a new perspective. Best of all, kids don’t need much to start pretending – just their imaginations! Dress-up clothes, housewares or even empty boxes are just a starting place for all kinds of adventures. And don’t forget, you were a child once too, so join your child in playtime and watch the magic begin! 

• Help give back to your community
A strong community supports its members. One way to build a sense of community for your children is to help them understand their role. Young children love to be helpers, so channel that energy into action! Come up with a list of ways they can help lift up family members, friends, or even classmates through acts of kindness. Chat with your child about how their big and small actions can help build a community they can belong to and feel safe in. 
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