Recognize the signs of a bullied preschooler:
- Sudden unexplained fear of going to preschool
- Being withdrawn or depressed
- Coming home with unexplained injuries
- Complaining about another child (or other children) doing or saying mean things
- Avoiding eye contact when asked about preschool and seeming embarrassed or ashamed
- Complaining of headaches and/or stomachaches when they are not sick
- Being clingy and whiny when dropped off at preschool
Bullying can have severe effects on your child’s self-esteem and confidence. If you suspect your child is being bullied, here are 4 things you can do:
1. Open Communication.
Talk with your child and let them know they can tell you anything. Some children may feel ashamed or embarrassed and may not want to talk about being bullied. Let your child know that you are there for them. Remember to stay cool, calm, and collected when your child describes the details. Reassure your child that bullying is not okay and that you will help end the bullying.
2. Get the Preschool Involved.
There is a good chance your preschool does not know there is a problem. Discuss the issue with your child’s teacher and ask for their view of the situation. You want to be assertive, but not go overboard and get angry. Talk through a game plan on how to end the bullying and schedule a time to meet again with the teacher to check on progress. Many child care providers have an open-door policy, so feel free to drop by unannounced to check-in and see how things are going. This will help keep everyone on their toes.
3. Empower Your Child.
Sadly, children perceived as weak are usually the ones to be picked on. Set your child up for success by teaching them how to handle a bully. Demonstrate how to assert confidence by standing tall and looking other people in the eyes. You can practice these skills through role-playing with your child.
4. Change Classrooms or Preschool.
It may be possible that the situation is beyond repair and nothing you do will help at this point. If that is the case, you might have to move your child to a different classroom. If switching classrooms is not an option, perhaps because the preschool offers only one class for your child’s age group, then consider changing preschools altogether. While this is not the ideal situation, it may be what is best for your child in the end. To find a great new preschool, you can visit CareLuLu.com.
Did you have any experience with bullying at preschool? If so, how were you able to resolve the situation? Please share with other parents what worked for you!