1. Help them practice their social skills.

  • Younger, shyer, or more bouncy children can find it harder to learn social skills, so work at a level that suits them.
  • Talk to you child about sharing, playing with others, and taking turns in games.
  • Help them think about different situations they might face and how to be kind to others in those situations
  • Help them think about how they and other people might feel in different situations.
  • Help them think about what makes someone a good friend, such as “I can lend something to someone if they need it”. “I can play with someone if they look lonely”. “If someone is hurt, I can check they are OK.”

2. Let your child sort problems out with their friends.

  • Help your child to work things out themselves. You can do this by trying not to step in and take over too much. Children can fall out and make up quite quickly.
  • Help them learn when to say sorry.

3. Playdates.

  • Having a friend (or two) over to play can help your child practice their social skills. You can help them think about what makes a good host. Talk with your child about taking turns and what your child and their friend could do together.
  • Praise your child when they come up with some good ideas.
  • Don’t push playdates onto your child. Some children can be tired and overwhelmed by starting school and having after-school playdates can get a bit much for them.

4. Model good social skills.

  • Your child will learn from watching you. If you look after your friends and sort out any problems between you, then your child will learn to do this too.

Bullying can happen in lots of different ways and can make people feel bad about themselves. Examples are name-calling, being left out, telling others not to talk to someone, being picked on, telling lies about someone or being hurt. 

This video talks about the difference between being rude, being mean and being a bully.

Bullying is behaviour that happens over and over, not just once.

A bully will hurt someone else because it makes them feel powerful, and they want other people to feel small.

What to do if your child is being bullied

It is normal to get upset or angry but listen to your child and try to stay calm. They need you to be strong and calm, so they know they can trust you to help them.

Bullying can have a negative effect on how a child sees themselves. Build your child’s confidence so that they feel good about themselves. Tell them what they are good at and remind them that they are loved. Encourage them to keep up their usual activities.

Encourage your child to tell the bully that they don’t like their behaviour and to walk away from the bully. Tell your child to let a teacher or trusted adult know what is happening.

Why do children bully other children?

  • Children who are well-behaved can sometimes bully to fit in with a group
  • Children might not know how their words or what they are doing makes someone feel
  • Children can pick on other children when they are being bullied or are seeing other people being bullied
  • Children can pick on other children when they are unhappy or are going through other emotional problems.

What to do if it is you, your friend or your child that is bullying other people?

Many children can bully others at times. This does not make them “bad”.

  • Be clear with your child but don’t be too hard on them as this could stop a helpful and open conversation
  • Tell them you have been told they are bullying someone, and you would like to understand what is happening
  • Be clear about what behaviour you would like to see. For instance, if they are leaving someone out, ask your child to think about the other child’s feelings and ask your child to help them to join in.
  • If they are name-calling, ask your child to think about their feelings and ask them to say sorry for the mean words
  • It is important that you help your child out with their social skills
  • If you are worried your child has some learning needs, talk to school and ask where to get help.
  • If you are worried your child has some emotional problems, talk to the school nursing team to get help.