Anti-Bullying Week: Can bullying happen in nurseries?
It was recently National Anti-Bullying Week – the perfect opportunity to talk about bullying and how it impacts children.
Bullying is horrible. Many people still remember being bullied at school, whether unkind words, pushing and shoving, or being excluded from a social group for an unknown reason.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is when someone says or does something hurtful to someone else on purpose. While people think that bullying is typically found in a high school, it can appear in pre-school settings. Bullying can be:
- Verbal – such as calling names and being rude to someone.
- Physical –including biting, punching, slapping and kicking.
- Indirect – this is where bullies seek to exclude and isolate.
Not all of these behaviours can always be classed as bullying. Children often get into arguments and even fights. They can fall out with each other one minute and be back to being best friends within a couple of hours! However, when these behaviours form a pattern, that’s when it becomes a problem.
Brenda Nixon, author of The Birth to Five Book, points out that before three, children can’t really feel empathy. However, after that, she says, ‘the brain has the ability to understand another point of view, so that’s the age that premeditated and purposeful aggression could begin.’
What are the signs that your child is being bullied?
If your child is being bullied, you may notice:
- They don’t want to go to nursery in a morning.
- They say that they have headache or tummy ache when they get to nursery.
- They tell you that one of the children is being mean to them.
- They become withdrawn and sad.
- They make comments about themselves like ‘I’m stupid’ or ‘nobody likes me’.
- They have unexplained bumps and bruises.
But why would a child bully another? They might be mimicking behaviour that they have seen in others, whether a child, a parent or someone else. It could be because they want some attention, even if it is negative.
How can we combat bullying?
One way we can stop bullying is by leading with the right behaviour in front of our children; being thoughtful to others, treating people how we want to be treated ourselves, remembering to display good manners, saying please and thank you, and showing respect for everyone around us. Helping our children to build up their self-esteem will promote positivity and confidence so they don’t feel the need to tear others down.
Here’s a little song that you can sing at home to help your little one remember to be polite and kind to others. By Friends (Sung to ‘Twinkle twinkle’ tune)
We say, ‘Thank you’, we say, ‘Please.’
We don’t interrupt, we don’t tease.
We don’t argue. We don’t fuss.
We listen when you talk to us.
We share our toys, we take our turn
Being kind isn’t hard to learn.
Unfortunately, bullying does happen at nurseries as children learn to push boundaries and try out new behaviours. Here at Shine Childcare, all of the children are made to feel safe and supported, able to talk about any worries that they have with an adult that will listen. If you have any concerns about bullying, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – our door is always open. We have anti-bullying policies in place to support children and to make sure that they feel happy and safe when in our care.