Many behaviors that seem harmless, such as teasing or excluding, can escalate into bullying. Look out for these behaviors so you can prevent bullying before it happens. Help children look for these behaviors, too.
1. Make an enlarged copy of the What Is Bullying? chart. Review the examples on the circle and ask children to add their own. Encourage children to include both actions and words that are delivered face to face (directly) and behind people’s backs (indirectly). Add their answers to the circle in the appropriate areas. Use pictures to help young children understand the examples and ask them to share pictures of their examples.
2. Explain that not all these behaviors will lead to bullying (but that doesn’t mean they’re acceptable, either).
3. Explain that a behavior is considered bullying when done on purpose (deliberately), more than once (repeatedly), and by someone who uses power unfairly (power imbalanced). Ask children what it means to be powerful. Is being powerful good? Can it also be bad? Explain that by recognizing bullying-related behaviors early, they can help to stop them before they turn into bullying.
4. Ask children why some kids might not want to report bullying.
5. Discuss strategies adults and children can use to make it easier for kids to report bullying. Suggestions might include helping kids and adults take the problem seriously, and ensuring confidentiality.