When a child goes to preschool for the first time, it's a totally new experience. For some children, the transition also makes them feel a little territorial and out of control. While your child learns how to work through these feelings, it's important that you work to ensure their feelings don't translate into them being a bully.
1. Focus on Similarities
A child might adapt to bullying tendencies when he or she feels afraid or intimidated because they feel like they're different from everyone else. A great thing a parent can do to discourage this behavior is to help the child recognize just how alike they are to the other children they attend preschool with.
For instance, talk to your child about how their friends at school like to play with toys just as they do, how the children have mothers and fathers as they do, and how they are all attending school to learn more. The more your child recognizes that they are just like the other children, the less likely your child is to act out.
2. Talk About Feelings
Again, attending preschool for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Since children don't express emotions with the same finesse as adults, the bullying behavior you detect might really be rooted in their fear of a new environment, if they've spent most of their time at home with you.
To work through this issue, it's a good idea to talk to your child about their feelings. For instance, if they're unkind to another child, ask the child what made them behave in this manner. In addition to targeting bullying behavior, helping your child work through their feelings will also help them develop socially.
3. Acknowledge Inappropriate Behaviors
Children are generally fairly innocent, so your child might be bullying another child without even realizing that what they're doing is inappropriate. As a parent, it's your job to highlight these behaviors and use them as lessons for your child. In many instances, once your child realizes their behaviors are not acceptable, they will start to adapt on their own.
Remember, consistency is important, especially for your children. If you witness any inappropriate behaviors or your child's teacher brings them to your attention, always make sure you address the issue with your child—don't overlook it.
Teaching your child how to interact with other children appropriately will be an important skill throughout their preschool journey and the rest of their life. Contact a resource like Learning Tree Schools for more information about your child and preschool.