Kindness Is Its Own Reward | Corona, CA

“A student isn’t a container you have to fill, but a torch you have to light up.” – Albert Einstein

If we know anything about tiny humans, it’s that they love to help. Whether it be sharing a snack or helping in the kitchen, if they think they can help, a toddler is first to volunteer. It isn’t because they were raised in any special way; science has proven that young children get a positive boost in their emotions when helping others. As they reach school age and other factors are introduced into their environment, it is important to continue to instill this good quality.

The world feels scarier every day, but it doesn’t have to be. Today is World Kindness Day – so let’s take a moment to do something kind for one another. And while you are at it, inspire a student to do the same. Children learn by example, and being kind feels good. The Golden Rule isn’t just a saying.

Kindness shouldn’t be forced or done only to get something back. The reward is the goodness you feel inside. Don’t teach sharing with a bribe. Like a smile, being kind is contagious.

Encourage students to be kind to one another by offering examples. Discuss ways to be kind. Hang inspirational posters. Be the friendly face your student can count on to brighten their day. Who doesn’t want to be a ray of sunshine?

Lastly, teach gratitude. Saying thank you when someone is kind to you is a kindness in itself. Not only does the giver feel special, but it makes them more inclined to be kind again. Eventually, there won’t be a need for a World Kindness Day. But until then…

If you would like to learn more about World Kindness Day, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Can Sibling Rivalry Cross a Line to Bullying? | Corona, CA

Siblings have been documented as fighting since the time of Cain and Abel, but is it possible for it to go beyond sibling rivalry and into more of a bullying issue? New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression between siblings can cause psychological wounds as damaging as the suffering caused by bullies at school or on the playground. The findings offer an unusual look at an area of family life that has rarely been studied, in part because fighting among brothers and sisters is widely considered a harmless rite of passage. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is difficult to distinguish what is harmless teasing and what is deeply affecting a child at home.

Ordinary skirmishes over the remote or joystick are one thing, constant physical and verbal abuse is another. Normal rivalries with siblings can encourage healthy competition but when the line between healthy relations and abuse is crossed it is cause for alarm. When one child is consistently the victim of another and the aggression is intended to cause harm and humiliation, it is then to be considered a serious situation.

Nationwide, sibling violence is the most common form of family violence. It occurs four to five times as often as spousal or parental child abuse. According to some studies, nearly half of all children have been punched, kicked or bitten by a sibling, and roughly 15 percent have been repeatedly attacked. But even the most severe incidents are under-reported because families are reluctant to acknowledge them, dismissing slaps and punches as horseplay and bullying as kids just being kids.

If you would like to learn more about sibling rivalry, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Is There a Difference Between a Bully and a Mean Person? | Corona, CA

It seems like these days, everyone feels the need to express everything they think and feel at any given moment. Not only in a good way, but more often than not, in a mean one. This has caused a wave of bullying between students that is tough to ignore. From TV to movies, it seems like everywhere you look someone is talking about bullying. But after some thinking, you have to ask yourself – is everyone that has something mean to say a bully? Is it possible to just be mean?

We all can probably think of someone who has been mean to us. We can probably even think of someone that we’ve been mean to. It doesn’t necessarily categorize anyone as a bully. There are rude people, and we need to learn how to deal with them accordingly. Bullying relies on unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance which includes actions like making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

No matter what the reason is, bullying can have long-term side effects and problems for the victim. Bullying is more than just being mean; it’s hurtful and cruel. The brutal words and actions can create an impact on the heart and general behavior. If you notice that your child has begun to change their overall demeanor to a sadder, more closed off version of themselves, talk to them. They may be hesitant to open up but knowing you’re there when they do will help tremendously.

If you would like to learn more about bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Start the Year off with Simple Acts of Kindness | Corona, CA

The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean our kind acts need to be. In fact, on your list of resolutions, why not add simple acts of kindness? There are several simple acts of care and kindness that could make someone’s entire day turn around, even after having a terrible start.

In this day and age, bullying is occurring more often, making a simple act of kindness that much more important now. It’s up to us as individuals to help show others kindness and positivity prevails in any situation. Here are 10 simple acts of care and kindness that could possibly turn someone’s frown upside down:

  • If people around are gossiping about another, chime in with something nice to say about them.
  • Smile at someone, just because. Smiles are contagious!
  • Try to make sure everyone in a group conversation feels included.
  • Write a little positive note to a friend.
  • Talk and make the new kid at school feel welcome.
  • If someone is being bullied, stand up for them.
  • Give your seat up to someone on the bus.
  • Make two lunches and give away one.
  • Talk to the shy person who’s sitting by themselves at lunch.
  • Be kind to everyone, even if they are bullying you. “Kill them with kindness.”

This year, let’s us all come together and contribute all sorts of simple acts of care and kindness. Bringing in a little bit of proverbial sunshine to someone’s life should be something everyone wants to do. Imagine the world if we did?

If you would like to learn more about simple acts of kindness, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

October is National Anti-Bullying Month | Corona, CA

Rumors, nasty comments, pushing, shoving, hitting – they have no place in our schools. It’s not just “kids being kids”. It’s not just something they will outgrow. Bullying and harassment are serious issues with serious consequences. Students who are bullied are more likely to be depressed, to think about and attempt suicide, and have behavior problems and difficulty learning.

Bullying contributes to poor school attendance, which is a barrier to improving student achievement for all. It affects efforts to close the achievement gap, a longstanding priority for the PTA. Nationally, an estimated 160,000 children miss school every day because of bullying. Prevention of bullying is a priority issue of the PTA because quite simply– children need to attend school in a safe environment.

Governor Jerry Brown signed important legislation sponsored by PTA to protect students from bullying and harassment. AB 1156, by Assembly member Mike Eng, gives students, their families and their teachers effective tools to help better ensure school is a place where everyone is free to learn and teach without the threat of harm. The bill requires training of school site personnel in the prevention of bullying, and it gives victims of bullying priority for transferring out of a school, if requested.

Training sessions on bullying prevention and intervention are now available through the California Department of Education for teachers, administrators, parents, students, certificated staff, risk management and community members. These sessions provide knowledge about the dynamics of bullying, a greater understanding of a systematic approach to bullying, and increase skills in identifying and implementing strategies to address bullying.

If you would like to learn more about National Anti-Bullying Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

September Is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month | Corona, CA

Now that we are smack-dab in the middle of back-to-school season, it is important that parents are sensitive to our children as they report the day’s events. Keeping an eye on their daily attitudes will help catch any signs of depression or adverse effects from fights with friends or bullying.

It is a fact: one in 3 children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Sadly, children are cruel when it comes to physical differences, so unfortunately, a child suffering from obesity is likely to suffer from bullying. It is important to teach your child not to let words affect them, but it is also important as parents to prevent unhealthy lifestyle choices for our tiny humans. Thankfully, childhood obesity can be prevented. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for kids to eat healthier and get more active.

How can National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month make a difference? We can all use this month to raise awareness about the obesity epidemic and show people how they can take steps toward a solution. Celebrate this health awareness month with these tips:

  • Make small changes as a family, like keeping fresh fruit or going on a family walk after dinner.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools a healthier environment for every child by providing healthy food options, daily physical activities and lessons about bully prevention.

If you would like to learn more about National Childhood Obesity Month, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Mean Girls Isn’t Just a Movie | Corona, CA

If you’ve ever seen the classic movie, Mean Girls, you know that girls don’t really take feelings into consideration when they choose to prey on another girl. It’s a dog eat dog world, especially in schools and sadly, girls are often worse than boys in that they use verbal abuse over physical bullying. Most Anti-bullying programs don’t look at friendship issues, but for girls, that’s where the aggression usually happens. Here are some tips that can help:

Start by building strong connections at home. You want to be understanding and a good listener. But that doesn’t mean asking questions that can be leading or suggest that she has been wronged.

Validate the range of emotions she is experiencing are valid. Help your daughter understand that all emotions, both positive and negative, are normal.  Remind her that bad emotions don’t make her a bad girl. By allowing her anger or irritation to play out will help her calm down quicker than if you just play down the situation.

Avoid problem-solving for her. You want your daughter to learn how to handle herself in these situations and in life. Be there for her and don’t just tell her what to do. Helping her work through what is going on by asking her questions.

Try role play to work through the problem. Help your daughter hold her ground with her own strong but not aggressive statements. Sometimes, a better idea is to start developing new friendships and avoid that “friend.”

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Thirteen Reasons Why We Need Good Friends | Corona, CA

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have at least heard of the newest Netflix show “13 Reasons Why”. The basic synopsis is this: a high school student commits suicide, but before she does, she makes 13 cassette tapes with the reasons that led her up to committing the act. It is up to those she left behind to figure out that everything could’ve been prevented had they just been a good friend to her. Kind of makes you ask yourself – am I a good friend?

But what exactly makes one a good friend? If you really want to know, ask yourself what it is that you look for in your friends. Do you reciprocate those same actions to them? Here is a quick list of traits people look for when finding themselves a friend…how many do you do?

Honesty is the best policy. Trust is important in any relationship, but especially in friendships. After all, if you can’t trust your friends’ opinions, who do you turn to when you need them? Same goes for you. If your friends ask for an opinion, give them an honest one.

A friend ‘til the end. After trust is earned, loyalty is expected. If you hear someone is talking about your friend, stand up for them. Always remember the golden rule!

A shoulder to lean on. One of the most important aspects of friendship is support. Listen to them and give good advice. Being there for one another is the best defense against any kind of bullying.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Good or Bad, Words Matter | Corona, CA

One of the biggest problems we have in schools is bullying. Thankfully, we have a week every year focused on the impact of words in our communication. During Words Matter Week, we need to consider the importance of our words in our day-to-day lives. This isn’t about of talking just to talk, this is about carefully crafted language. Words Matter Week is a time to focus on banishing grammatically incorrect and hurtful words from our written and spoken communication.

The quote for Words Matter Week 2015 is simple – “If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it”.

Because it seems bullying starts at a young age, it is a good idea to speak to your students about the way various forms of speech affects others, both positively and negatively. Try these questions to spark a discussion in the classroom:

  • Words can change history. What word, speech, or document do you believe to be most important?
  • What writers make your heart sing? Why?
  • What word, said or unsaid, has or could change your life? How?
  • Communication breaks down when words are misused. What is the funniest or worst break-down you’ve ever observed?
  • What person in your life helped you understand the importance of choosing words carefully?
  • If you had to eliminate one word or phrase from the English language, what would it be? Why?

Words Matter Week is celebrated annually, with celebrations held online at www.WordsMatterWeek.com and at libraries, bookstores, and schools nationwide and is sponsored by the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE).

If you would like to learn more about Words Matter Week and what you can do to prevent bullying, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.

Are You a Bully? | Corona, CA

BystanderWhen we think about the typical bully, we think of the big, tough kid on the playground who pushes everyone around. Sure, but those aren’t the only types of bullies. The cheerleader, the class clown, even the quiet kid can be a bully. Bullies can be any size, age, gender or grade.

So, what does it mean to be a bully? When someone uses words or actions to hurt someone who has a hard time defending themselves. Sometimes kids who bully think that it’s cool, but what is cool about hurting someone? Name calling, tripping someone, laughing at them, leaving them out, ignoring them on purpose – how can hurting someone possibly be “no big deal?” If kids think about why they are bullying, they can then deal with those reasons and change their behavior. Not only will they feel better about themselves, but others will think so too.

Do you think you are a bully? Do you think you know someone who is? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may want to rethink the way you treat others:

  • Do you hurt other kids on purpose?
  • Do you like to tease kids about how they look or act?
  • Are kids afraid of you?
  • Do you hit, threaten, or leave kids out?
  • Do you take or ruin other kids’ stuff?
  • Do you enjoy it when you upset other kids?
  • Do you blame others for your problems?
  • Do you say mean things about others, either in person or on social media?

If you would like to learn more about bullying and what you can do to prevent it, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness at 866-459-7225 or visit www.simpleacts.org for additional information.