What You Can Do to Stop Bullying | Corona, CA

bullying

Bullying is a terrible thing to witness. Not only is it mean, but the victim of the bullying is hurt. When you do nothing, you send the message that bullying is acceptable. If you ignore or minimize the problem, victims will not believe that adults understand or care, or that they can help. And if you don’t intervene, their peers won’t either. So, when you see someone being bullied, take a moment to step in and help stop it. Not sure how to do it? Here are some simple ways to make a difference:

Intervene immediately. Stand between or near the victim and the bully, separating them if necessary, so as to stop the bullying behaviors. For young children, consider removing them from the situation to a “time-out” area or room. Remain calm but convey the seriousness of the situation. Announce that the bullying must stop. Describe the behavior you observed and why it is unacceptable.

Get help if needed. 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.

Don’t impose immediate consequences. Make sure you gather all the information before deciding the best course of disciplinary action and refrain from punishing the bully in front of peers.

Don’t ask children to “work things out” for themselves.  Bullying is different from an argument or conflict – it involves a power imbalance that requires adult intervention.

Give praise and show appreciation to helpful bystanders.  Children who try to help the victim or stop the bully are key to bullying prevention.

Stick around. Remain in the area until you are sure the behavior has stopped.

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.

Students at Risk for Bullying | Corona, CA

There’s no doubt that bullying has become a problematic epidemic in the United States, but just how much of a problem has it become? Whether it be cyber bullying or bullying in real life, just about everyone has experienced some degree of bullying throughout their lifetime. Though some children and teens experience bullying at high rates and with more persistence than others, just about every child around the country is mostly likely going to have some type of connection to bullying.

Sadly, children and teens that are considered different than others are the most frequent targets of bullies. Youth with disabilities; gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students; students that are overweight; and students that are perceived as weak or insecure are the most likely targets of bullies. However, even if a child does have these risk factors, it doesn’t mean they will get bullied.

The problem really stems from the fact that many bullied students will not speak up when it happens, for fear of retaliation, not being believed, etc. And sadly, we continue to hear how this bullying is affecting the students directly – at times having an incredibly tragic end. We, as adults, need to be able to make our children feel comfortable with speaking up without feeling scared to do so.

In addition, parents and teachers that are in close contact with children on the school’s campus need to help put bullying to an end. It takes a village to raise a child – we all need to come together to support and accept one another to help reduces these alarming statistics as a community.

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.

The ABCs of a Bully | Corona, CA

When it comes to bullies, there is a general personality type we can look for. But how does it begin? After all, babies aren’t born bullies – it is a reaction to the environment they are surrounded by. Children who bully use their power to hurt others, and are often hot-tempered, inflexible, rebellious, and often lack empathy. Let’s trace this behavior back to the beginning…

It may seem young, but in preschool years, bullies often use direct verbal bullying and physical power to control material objects or territory because they may not have the skills necessary to interact in socially appropriate ways.

In the elementary school years, bullies are more inclined to use threats and physical force to make victims do things that they do not want to do. During this time period, some children may begin to use indirect bullying to exclude peers from their social circle and activities.

In the middle and high school years, it is all about fitting in so bullies rely on direct verbal and physical bullying. Rumor-spreading and social exclusion through the use of the Internet or cell phone are also the latest trend. Boys rely on bullying for physical dominance, girls to enhance their social status.

Bullies fail to develop the social skills necessary for sharing, reciprocating, empathizing, and negotiating – key necessities to having healthy relationships, and as they mature into adulthood, children who have bullied others often show higher rates of:

  • Aggression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Carrying weapons to school
  • Dropping out
  • Crime
  • Difficulty controlling their emotions
  • Depression
  • Suicides

If bullies can change these patterns of behavior before they become habitual and entrenched, will be less likely to suffer with these devastating and long-term effects.

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

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 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.

Reasons Kids May Not Mention Bullying | Corona, CA

No one wants to be bullied. Growing up is hard enough as it is. Unfortunately, many times you don’t get the choice. It is estimated that an average of 160,000 students around the country stay home daily out of fear of being bullied each day. And more often than not, parents are unaware that the bullying is taking place. But why? Here are the top five reasons your child may not be mentioning that they are getting bullied:

Tattle tales. We are taught as children that no one likes a tattle tale. However, it is vitally important that children learn the difference between tattling about unimportant things and telling someone when bullying is taking place.

Retaliation. While the adult may be able to address the issue with the child doing the bullying at the time, but they aren’t always going to be around. There is nothing scarier than having a bully retaliate.

Liar, liar. Some children are skittish to tell an adult for fear of not being believed. Some will even believe that maybe they did something to bring the bullying on themselves.

No help. A majority of children believe that telling an adult does nothing to stop the bullying. Sadly, research tends to support this thought. Often kids are told to “toughen up”, or “that it is just a part of growing up”.

Shame. When children are bullied, they often feel ashamed or embarrassed. These feelings alone can keep them from reporting issues, because they don’t want people to know that they were being bullied.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The History of Seth’s Law | Corona, CA

bullyingIn the current climate, it’s fitting that we take a moment to reflect on a law passed in California that protects public school children from bullying. That law? Seth’s Law. Seth’s Law is a 2012 law that strengthens existing state anti-bullying laws to protect all students. This law requires CA public schools to update their anti-bullying policies and programs, focusing on protecting students who are bullied based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity/gender expression, as well as race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, disability, and religion.

California law says that all public school students should have equal rights and opportunities. Yet many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning students report that they experience significant bullying in California schools. And teachers, administrators, and other staff often fail to address the bullying when they see it.

Seth’s Law is named after a 13-year-old California student who tragically took his own life in 2010 after years of anti-gay bullying that his school failed to address.

Under this law, school districts will adopt a strong anti-bullying policy that prohibits bullying and implement a specific process for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying, including a requirement that school personnel intervene if they witness bullying. Additionally, publicize anti-bullying policy and complaint process, including support materials in all schools, offices and district websites.

Seth’s Law specifically contains the following requirement: “If school personnel witness an act of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, he or she shall take immediate steps to intervene when safe to do so.” (Education Code Section 234.1(b)(1))]

If you would like to learn more about Seth’s Law 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.