Once upon a time, not all that long ago, bullying was considered a rite of passage and generally dismissed by adults as “kids being kids.” As more and more tormented kids take drastic measures in a desperate bid to end the pain they suffer at the hands of playground bullies that attack during recess and daily school breaks, however, adults are beginning to understand the deep importance of the issue. Still, it’s not always easy to know the best ways of handling a playground bully from an adult perspective.
Talk To Your Children
If you suspect that your child is the victim of a bully, the first step is to talk to her about what she’s experiencing. Kids are often reticent when it comes to talking about the humiliation that comes with being bullied, so the conversation is one that you should approach delicately. Make sure that your child understands she should never physically retaliate against a bully, and that it’s okay to go to a teacher if she feels threatened. She also needs to know that what she’s experiencing is not her fault. If you have more than one school-aged child, it may also pay to talk to her siblings about what’s happening while they’re at school. Siblings can be a font of knowledge regarding the social intricacies of schoolyard interactions, and can help you get a more detailed picture of what’s happening.
Contact the Appropriate Adults
In some cases, a simple call or email to the parents of your child’s tormentor will be enough to put a stop to the bully’s actions. When you’re not able to contact a parent or contacting them doesn’t net real results, however, your next step should be a meeting with your child’s teacher and school administrators. Most campuses have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying, and will do everything within their power to put a stop to such behavior.
Monitor Social Media Usage
Dealing With Very Young Playground Bullies
When the bully in question is a preschooler on the playground at a neighborhood park, the situation becomes even more delicate. In a perfect world, the parent or childcare provider of a bullying youngster would be alert and engaged, noticing the child’s behavior and taking steps to correct it before things get out of hand. More often than not, however, a mom or nanny is so wrapped up in her conversation or smartphone that she pays no heed to what’s happening on the playground. There’s certainly no rule against explaining to a small child that his behavior isn’t nice, but those words aren’t likely to have much impact when they come from a stranger. Calmly obtaining the parent or childcare provider’s attention in order to respectfully explain the situation is your best bet. Be sure that you’re calm and collected before you approach the adult that’s responsible, however, as it’s easy to lose your cool when tensions run high. If all else fails, separate your child from the situation and move to another part of the playground. Lengthy conversations about bullying aren’t likely to stick with a very small child, so it’s better to just remove him from the area to avoid further confrontation.
How to Deal When Your Child is the Bully
Few things are as disheartening and humiliating as learning that your child is a playground bully. Being called into the office by the principal to deal with allegations of bullying or facing the ire of a mom whose child has been victimized by yours at the park is never pleasant, and can cause you to feel rather insecure regarding your parenting style. It’s important that you swallow any of your own feelings on the subject that could interfere with approaching your child and confronting her bullying habits. A long conversation about what bullying is, why it’s wrong and how it can hurt people will usually be enough to help a young and misguided child see the error of his ways.
The mental image of your darling girl twirling gracefully across a stage in her fabulous costume, only to receive a standing ovation and be pelted with flowers at the end of her performance is a dizzying one, indeed. For many parents, however, the primary goal after enrolling their daughter into dance classes is to help her become more confident, to promote coordination and to help her cultivate a physically active hobby that will offset the sedentary pastimes that today’s kids are so fond of. Most dance instructors will accept kids as young as the toddler stage, though the minimum age limit isn’t always a reliable indicator of readiness. As with so many other things in life, your child will mature at her own pace and may not fall in line with her peers when it comes to dance class readiness. These tips and hints will help you determine when and if your child is ready for dance classes.
Is She Potty Trained?
While some dance instructors will accept very young children for toddler dance classes, it’s important that your child is potty trained before she signs up. Diapers and dance classes just don’t mix, so it’s wise to hold off on enrolling your budding prima ballerina until she’s fully potty trained. Keep in mind, too, that kids who are new to potty training may have accidents when they’re distracted by the excitement of a new and engaging environment, and that you’ll want to be available in case she comes to you with a need to use the restroom. Those leotards sure are cute, but they’re not always easy for little hands to manage properly when nature calls.
Are You Prepared to Stay Through Classes?
As your daughter gets older and more accustomed to the environment of her dance academy, you may notice that more and more of her peers are being dropped off by parents that return to fetch them after class. Beginners and very young students, however, will almost always need to have a parent or caregiver on-hand when they begin dance classes. If you’re not in a position to hang around the studio until the end of class and don’t have a reliable caregiver that’s willing to do so, it’s usually best to hold off on leaving your child alone in a new environment at such a young age.
Is There a Studio in Your Area That’s a Good Fit?
There may be a few different options in your area when it comes to dance studios for little ones, but that doesn’t mean that your daughter is ready to attend any of them. More competitive studios may push even their very young students harder than she’s comfortable with, which could delay her readiness when it comes to the available options in your area. Be sure that your child is not only up to the physical and behavioral challenge of dance classes, but also that she’s ready to withstand the environment in the one you’ve chosen.
Can She Follow Directions?
A dance instructor with experience in dealing with toddler and preschool aged students will understand that no youngster follows directions perfectly all of the time, but it’s still important that your daughter is able to be reasonably open to direction. If she struggles to follow instructions at home more often than not, it’s probably not a good idea to throw her into a situation in which her success depends solely upon her ability to do so.
Consider Her Emotional Readiness
Some kids are naturally more gregarious and outgoing than their peers, while others are painfully shy and tend to cling to the shadows. If your daughter falls into the latter camp and is still very young, the social aspect of dance classes is likely to be very scary for her. Regardless of her age, if your daughter is not capable of handling relatively large group situations well, it’s best to wait until she’s gained a bit more confidence.
Is “Mommy and Me” an Option?
A growing number of dance schools are offering “Mommy and Me” toddler classes that encourage little ones to participate in dance class, help to boost awareness of their own bodies and to foster creative expression while Mom participates alongside them. This can be a very effective introduction to the world of structured dance classes, as she will gradually become less dependent upon your presence without feeling that she’s been thrown to the proverbial wolves in terms of participation. If you have lingering doubts about your young daughter’s readiness and these classes are available, you may find that she’s more prepared for dance classes than you initially thought.
As Mother’s Day approaches, integrating arts and crafts projects intended to be gifts for the very special Mom in your charges’ lives will not only help to keep them entertained and exploring their creativity, but they’re also a great way to show her the appreciation she deserves. Working with your charges to help them create thoughtful, handmade gifts shows your employer that she’s never far from her kids’ thoughts, and helps kids to commemorate the special day in a big way. These projects are great starting points for the nanny determined to help her small charges present their mom with handmade gifts!
You just can’t go wrong with a classic, especially when it’s designed and executed by the apple of Mom’s eye. Encourage kids to create their own Mother’s Day greeting cards with construction paper, crayons, washable markers and any embellishments you can find. Not only will they have a special place in Mom’s heart due to their high level of personalization, but the simple format allows even preschoolers to create a piece of art that’s recognizable as a greeting card.
Whether you dunk kids’ hands in plaster to preserve the size and shape of their tiny appendages or slather them with paint to decorate another project, handprint art is a classic choice for Mother’s Day projects. As your charges get older and bigger, it will be nice for Mom to have a visual reference showing her just how small they once were.
Professional moms with their own office or cubicle will love displaying snapshots of their brood in frames created by the kids themselves! Look for unfinished wooden frames that your charges can paint and decorate, or find patterns online to create upcycled photo frames out of a variety of household items.
Bookworm moms that are always on the go rarely have time to finish a good novel, so why not help their children to create a sweet reminder of their appreciation that will also mark her place? The options are endless when it comes to materials, too. Felt, paper, plastic canvas and even construction paper are just a small sampling of the things you can use to create personalized bookmarks.
The mom on the go never seems to have enough hands to manage all of the things she has to carry, so why not help your charges make a tote bag to lighten the load? Nannies that are handy with a needle and thread can whip up blank canvas bags for the kids to decorate to their hearts content for next to nothing, but pre-made bags are easy to locate at any craft or hobby store.
Though they’re rapidly approaching extinction, the old-fashioned checkbook hasn’t quite gone the way of the dinosaur just yet. Snag a few plastic covers with gaudy cardstock inserts and pull the inserts out to use for a pattern. Trace and cut a piece of your own cardstock to the appropriate size, then let the kids go nuts! Their decorating scheme is sure to bring a smile to Mom’s face with every bill she pays.
Paper or Foam Flower Bouquets
Flowers are a traditional Mother’s Day gift, but they wilt and fade away so quickly! Flowers from some big box florists are also harvested under ethically questionable circumstances, and aren’t always the most socially conscious choice. Cut out the confusion of locating an ethical florist and trying to keep those blooms alive past their shelf life by helping the little ones you care for create their own bouquets out of paper or foam. Kids can come up with spectacular flowers that are just more fabulous than those found in nature, and can also work on honing their paper-cutting skills as they go. Save the foam for older kids with more control and experience over scissors, just to be on the safe side. Also, it’s wise to always opt for safety scissors if little tykes will be using them.
Keep in mind that these suggestions are just that, and aren’t necessarily the last word in celebratory Mother’s Day arts and crafts projects. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination, and to encourage creativity in your small charges. You may even find that providing a wide range of art supplies and a basic theme helps the little ones to come up with projects you never would have dreamed of!