October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so it’s a great time to talk to your students about friendship, character, respect, and kindness. Through dialogue and hands-on-activities, you can give your students the skills they need to tackle bullying at your school. Here are our top 5 anti-bullying ideas to help you turn your school into a bully-free zone.
1) Define Bullying
The first step is to define what bullying means. It’s a broad concept that some children might not fully understand. Open a dialogue with kids, and give them a chance to share what bullying means to them. Be sure to cover all aspects of bullying (e.g. cyber bullying, teasing, physical interactions, hurting words), and use simple terms that your students can understand. Kids who recognize what bullying is are in better positions to prevent it from happening and to stop it when it does.
2) Promote Good Character
Good character should be a given in your school all year long, and Good Character Week (October 15-21) is the perfect time to officially kick-off your school’s culture of character. Start the week off by handing out character incentives, like pencils, buttons, and wristbands, to serve as daily reminders. Then, talk about good character and ways your students can exhibit it.
Reinforce anti-bullying ideas and good character concepts by acknowledging student who display them all year long. Stock up on both on-the-spot and formal recognition awards, like:
- Anti-bully Award Pins
- Dog Tags
- Friendship EyeBlacks
3) Empower Your Kids
Give kids the tools they need to stand up to bullies and encourage them to seek an adult’s help if they need it (let them know you take it seriously; they will not be punished for reporting bullies). Teach children the right words to use if they are being bullied, if they see someone being bullied, or if they feel pressure to be a bully. Role-play with your students. Help them act out possible scenarios, so they have the confidence to act appropriately when they encounter bullying in real life.
4) Create a Culture of Respect
Declare your school a “Bully-Free Zone,” and then make sure everyone there works together to make it so. Reinforce your commitment by hanging anti-bullying posters and banners throughout the school and uniting students with fun, anti-bully T-shirts. You can even create a “friendship wall” in a main hallway. Cover the wall with background paper and encourage students to write down things they like about each other, share good deed stories, and offer words of encouragement to each other.
5) Engage in Awareness Activities
Knowledge is one of the best defenses against bullying. The more students understand people who are different from them, the more respectful they will be of each other. Here are some easy activities to promote awareness at your school:
- Hold a mini Festival of Nations to promote cultural awareness
- Stock books that feature people of different ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds
- Take field trips to nursing homes and cultural centers
- Get students involved in community activities to expose them to a wide variety of people
Make sure all your students feel secure. Use these anti-bullying ideas to create a fun, relaxed, and safe learning environment for all the kids at your school.
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