Don’t Be a Bully, Be a Buddy | Corona, CA

bullyingNo one wants to be bullied, yet it seems like bullying is becoming more and more an issue in schools. Before you let you or your buddy become a victim, kit is important to know that there is something you can do. There are things you can do to keep yourself and the kids you know safe from bullying. No one should have to feel alone…

Stick with friends. There is safety in numbers. Avoid being alone in target areas like locker rooms, restrooms, and places where the bully hangs out.

Be assertive and confident. Use body language to show you are not afraid. Stand up straight and make eye contact.

Ignore the bully. Walk away. Don’t respond. Get out of the situation. Agree with the bully’s comments, then walk away.

Don’t seek revenge. Remember that using violence to solve problems only makes things worse.

Get help. If you are being bullied, don’t keep it a secret. Report all bullying incidents to friends or adults.

Don’t be a bystander. When no one speaks up, bullies learn they can get away with it.

Refuse to join in. Don’t take part in the bullying. Refuse to even watch.

Speak out. Distract the bully by changing the subject or using humor. Stand up for the victim. Tell them to stop.

Give support. Be a friend. Make an effort to include others who are normally left out or rejected.

Get an adult. Report any bullying you see to teachers or other adults. They can set clear, nonviolent consequences for future bullying behavior. Your friends can go with you to talk to a teacher, counselor, coach, or parent, in case you’re nervous to go alone.

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

Can You Hear the School Bells Ringing? | Corona, CA

Summer is officially coming to a close and it’s time to start preparing for a new school year. We get our supplies ready in our brand-new backpack and set our bedtimes back in order to get enough sleep. But it can be a scary time for our little students – with the new classes and schedules to get used to. Let’s help our tiny scholar’s off on the right foot with these back-to-school tips:

Meet the new teacher. For kids, one of the biggest back-to-school fears is their new teacher. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — take advantage of the opportunity. If your child’s teacher sends a welcome letter, be sure to read the letter together.

Tour the school. Open house is a great way to get your child familiar with the new areas they will be using on a daily basis. Together you can meet their teacher, find their desk, or explore the playground.

Connect with friends. A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.

Tool up. While keeping the class supply list in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.

Ease into the routine. Avoid first day of school mayhem by practicing your routine a few days in advance. Routines help children feel comfortable and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.

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

See Something, Say Something | Corona, CA

bullying

No one wants to be bullied, and no one wants to someone being bullied. Unfortunately, there are many ways students can get bullied growing up, especially since the creation of the internet. Sometimes it feels like there are more bullies than not. But there is a way we can prevent bullies from taking control and hurting others. So, you have to ask yourself – when you see or hear bullying, what should you do? Here are just a few suggestions…

Intervene immediately. When you do nothing, you send the message that bullying is acceptable, and victims will begin to believe that adults don’t understand or care. Intervene, even if you’re not sure it’s bullying. Observing children’s actions, words, body language, and facial expressions will help you determine if bullying is occurring. Separate them, if necessary, so as to stop the bullying behaviors.

Get help. If the bully is using physical force, or there is more than one bully, you may need to find another adult to help keep children safe and protect yourself.

Avoid lecturing the bully in front of his or her peers. Your goal is to end the behavior, not humiliate or shame the bully. Rather than serving as a deterrent, lecturing and scolding often give the bully the attention they’re craving. Allow yourself time to consider the incident and obtain any clarifying information—then decide the best course of action.

Give praise and show appreciation to helpful bystanders. Children who try to help the victim or stop the bully are key to bullying prevention. Thanking these little good Samaritans will only increase their desire to continue.

If you would like to learn more about bullying prevention, 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.

Wrap Up the Sunny Season as a Family | Corona, CA

As we bring this season to a close and embark upon a new school year, it’s important to send your little one’s off with a happy heart and plenty of family memories. It’s the perfect opportunity for many families to enjoy each other company, while engaging in fun-filled activities. Family Fun Month is a wonderful time to take advantage of enjoying your families company, while bonding over whatever activity you all choose to partake in. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Order pizza and watch a movie in your backyard
  • Take a trip to the beach and collect sea shells
  • Take a day trip to the zoo to learn about the animals
  • Go on a camping trip to a new and exciting place
  • Learn about stargazing and then try to identify as many constellations as you can
  • Pretend to be pirates for a day. Dress up, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate
  • Throw a backyard luau with family and friends
  • Have a themed karaoke night
  • Cook a delicious meal together
  • Bake cookies to make ice cream sandwiches
  • Have a little picnic at your local state park
  • Take a family bike ride
  • Go hiking in your local national forest
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Take a family vacation to somewhere new
  • Have a talent show night
  • Take a fishing trip
  • Enjoy a backyard campfire and tell ghost stories
  • Build a fort in your backyard
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter or nature center

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

Accidents Happen: Pool Safety Edition | Corona, CA

With summer in full swing, we have all begun to seek refuge from the heat in their backyard or community pools. Pool and spa submersions and drownings happen quickly, especially when they involve children. Be alert to the hazards of drownings, non-fatal submersion injuries and drain entrapments—and how to prevent them.

An adult should actively watch children at all times while they are in a pool. For infants and toddlers, an adult should be in the water and within arm’s reach, providing “touch supervision.”  For older children, an adult should be paying constant attention and free from distractions, and must know how to swim.

If you have a pool, insist that the following rules are followed:

  • Keep toys away from the pool when the pool is not in use.
  • Empty blow-up pools after each use.
  • No tricycles or other riding toys at poolside.
  • No electrical appliances near the pool.
  • No diving in a pool that is not deep enough.
  • No running on the pool deck.
  • Always watch your children when they are in or near a pool or spa.
  • Teach children basic water safety tips.
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes and other openings to avoid entrapments.
  • Have a portable telephone close by at all times when you or your family are using a pool or spa.
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first.
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends and neighbors.

If you would like to learn more about Pride 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.

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.

4 Ways to Encourage Kindness in Kids

Nearly every single parent has probably said, “play nice, please” or “be kind to your bother”.  And I’m sure that most parents would agree that they want to raise kind and caring children. But is being kind something that can be taught?

Yes, however, most of the teaching is by example.

It’s our job to be great role models to better mold a kinder generation, as kindness isn’t taught, but rather learned. Verbally telling someone to be a kind and caring can only go so far, and with children words typically go in one ear and out the other.

The following list includes four ways to encourage kindness in kids:

  1. Walk the walk. Children understand the concept of kindness through daily interaction with their families. The way speak to others and your children even when tired are how they learn how to treat other people. So be sure to be the person you’d like you’d like your child to be.
  2. Talk the talk. Encourage your child with kind language. It’s been said that learning empathy and language go hand-in-hand. Kindness is essentially having the ability to take another person’s perspective and then altering your language and actions accordingly. When talking to children of a young age, make sure to speak positively and know how to word things in such a way that don’t demean another person.
  3. Reward big acts of kindness. It’s important to take notice of the “uncommon acts of kindness”, such as when your child builds a lemonade stand for a good cause or they go out of their way to help another person. However, you shouldn’t reward your children every day for everyday helpfulness, like taking out the trash or playing nice. That everyday kindness should be expected of them.
  4. Take them outside their comfort zone to teach empathy. If children haven’t learned compassion and generosity by the time they are 18, it’s very unlikely that they’ll learn kindness in a lecture hall. Young people should interact with people of all backgrounds, to learn how to “put the shoe on the other foot.” Take them out of their comfort zone to encourage personal growth for empathy.

Kindness should never be taken for granted. Teach your children how others should be treated. As the saying goes “treat others how you want to be treated”. If you would like to help spread kindness throughout your schools, contact Simple Acts of Care and Kindness (S.A.C.K.) at 866-459-7225 today. Or visit www.simpleacts.org to learn more about the S.A.C.K. foundation.