Say it isn't true, says Circle of Moms member Sierra B. who is discovering that even in preschool, girls form cliques and bully each other. “I've seen my own girls be both the victims and perpetrators of this, and am interested in ways to stop it,” she says, adding that her five-year-old "sometimes comes home from school talking about girls who won’t let her sit with them at lunch, or who shut her out of their playground games. "Since my kid is made of awesome, it’s clearly those other girls who are losing out, but that’s small comfort when you’re playing alone in the sandbox.”
Many Circle of Moms members with preschool-aged daughters, including Wendy B., thought hurtful rivalries of this sort started much later, in middle school. But as Wendy shares, taunting and teasing can start early: “My daughter wore a cute sun dress yesterday to school for pictures and was told she looked like she was getting ready to have a baby."
It’s painful to see kids hurting your child at any stage, but during the preschool years especially, it can leave you at a loss. To help, here are four tips from Circle of Moms members for coping with exclusionary and hurtful behavior in preschool.
1. Intervene Immediately
If your daughter is becoming the victim of a group of girls at preschool, contacting the teachers right away can nip it in the bud, says Jessica S. She says: "I think that it would be completely reasonable for moms to request that the instigator be moved to another class."
Heather A. adds that if the teachers don’t resolve the problem, then moms should go to the principal or even the school board. “I can only imagine the rage I would be feeling if I knew this was happening to my daughter. I would hold the teacher, the principal and the counselors accountable, as well as the parents of the other children."
2. Speak to the Parents
In addition to trying to resolve the situation with the teacher and preschool administrators, Circle of Moms member Priscilla M. believes it’s also important to notify the parents, since they are ultimately responsible for their child’s behavior. “I would talk to the parents of the little girl [who] is being mean. Obviously her parents aren't teaching her manners!
Lynleigh C. agrees, pointing out that preschool is supposed to help kids learn socialization. "If the school fails to do something I personally would speak to the parents.”
3. Teach Self-Advocating Skills
Many moms point out that it's also important to teach your daughter coping skills, including seeking out nice kids to play with and recognizing and avoiding bullies. Jamie learned this lesson when a classmate scratched her daughter's face and drew blood. The teacher suggested explaining to her daughter that she shouldn't bother to play with "people [who] don't treat her well,” so Jamie asked her daughter to stay away from the child who scratched her. "I don't want my daughter anywhere near her and have explained to her that she shouldn't play with people [who] don't treat her with respect.
4. Explain “Do Unto Others”
Chrystal B. believes that a child's early brushes with meanness are opportunities to tell her how proud you are of the way she treats people, and also to explain that selfish, nasty, and mean behavior is absolutely not allowed: “You can explain to your daughter that friends are people [who] don't say mean things or hit."
She also cautions that preschoolers might be a little young to fully grasp this concept, and that you'll need to continually reinforce it. “The fact is, preschoolers have limited ability to control or express emotions and are learning proper social interaction. Name calling and hitting is going to happen.”
Have your kids been bullied in preschool?
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.