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Bullying begins in the early years

The school year is soon coming to an end, and many children will be in childcare or summer camp for the summer months. Your kindergarten student or even a preschooler may have encountered a bully this year. How did you and your child handle the bully? The skills for handling a bully that were learned at school this year can be taken to childcare or summer camp. Bullying remains a hot topic for parents. The most common advice that parents give to their child if there is an incident of bullying is to tell a teacher or other adult at school. This advice does not work for some children. They may be too shy to tell a teacher. The bully may threaten the bullied child with consequences if the child tells a teacher. There are many options for empowering your child to manage a bullying situation.

Strategies for bully proofing your child
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Introducing a discussion about handling a bully with young children can begin with a fun read-aloud. There are many books about bullying that are written for young children.

*"Llama Llama and the Bully Goat" by Anna Dewdney is a great choice to read and open a discussion about bullying. Llama goes to kindergarten and encounters a bully. Llama follows his teacher's advice and walks away when Gilroy the bully approaches him. Gilroy disrupts circle time and throws dirt on the playground. Llama finally decides to tell him that this behavior is not acceptable and uses his words to finally befriend the bully. This fun read-aloud offers a great option a great strategy of using nice words to tame a bully.

*"Barnyard Bully" by Donna Taylor is another great choice for reading and opening a discussion with young children about bullying. Jake is a small horse who is new to the farm. He tries bullying to fit in, but this does not work. He soon learns other options for forming new friendships instead of being a bully. Young children will find several options in this story to handle a bully.

Forty Carrots Family Center in Sarasota is offering a workshop on April 9 and 16th from 9:30-11:00 for parents who want to learn new strategies for handling a bully that their child may encounter. The early childhood educators at Forty Carrots Family Center will use the bestselling book "The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander" by Barbara Coloroso as a point of discussion for dealing with a bullying situation. The workshop will offer tips and a variety of strategies for parents to use in supporting their child at school and other social situations. There is a $50 fee for a 2-week session with no childcare offered. There is a $60 fee for the 2-week session that will offer childcare. Parents may register by calling 941-365-7716, or by logging on at www.fortycarrots.org.

Come and learn some great strategies to empower your child when encountering a bully. Children will be more confident with new skills to handle a bully at school, childcare, and summer camp. Check out the included video for some interesting comments from a pediatrician.