Eight Ways to Help Your Child Stand Up to Bullying

January 20 - 24 Is No Name Calling Week Whether your child is the target of bullying or a witness, experiencing bullying is painful and can have long lasting negative effects. Dr. James Foley shares strategies from his Magination Press book, Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying, to help your young child stand up to bullying. Bullying is defined as aggressive behavior that occurs repeatedly over time, is intended to cause harm, and  involves an imbalance in power between the perpetrator and the victim. How to help your child stand up to bullying The key to coping with bullying behavior is to help your child build self-esteem and resilience. The following strategies can help. Identify bullying behavior Identify and label problem behavior, like name-calling or enlisting others to make someone feel bad. When you see bullying behavior, in a story like Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying, on TV, or in the real world, point it out, name it for your child, and indicate that it is unacceptable. Help your child understand the effect the behavior has on others by saying, “name-calling makes people feel bad.” Then describe acceptable behavior. For example, you could say, “In our family, we want to be kind and use nice words, not call each other names.” Teach assertiveness at home If you observe name-calling or other bullying behavior within your family, try to redirect and give a positive alternative statement or behavior. “Nobody likes it when you use mean names. If you are upset, take a deep breath and describe how you feel instead of using mean words.” The family is a practice ground for life skills needed to stand up to bullies. Teaching assertiveness within the family can help.  Listen and problem solve Within the safe space of reading time, ask specifically about your child’s concerns about bullying. Initially, keep your responses neutral in order to clarify your child’s concerns.  Have you ever seen bullying at your school? How often does that happen? How did that make you feel? If your child is developmentally ready, involve them in the problem-solving process. What do you think would help? What would stop the bullying? If you saw bullying, who is a good person to tell? Parents should give specific instructions on how to solve the situation, such as, “I want you to tell me and your teacher.”  Young children benefit from physical demonstrations and integrating lessons into their play. For example, you can use your child’s favorite stuffed animals to act out the interactions and strategies. Model them for your child with the toys first, and then encourage your child to do the same, to demonstrate their understanding of the ideas. Brainstorm coping strategies Use the Baxter and Danny Stand Up to Bullying story to illustrate the impact of Queen Beth’s song, which emphasizes the forest animals’ strengths and the power the group has to stop bullying behavior. Then tell your child that they can effect change. In the story, the song

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Eight Ways to Help Your Child Stand Up to Bullying 2020-01-21T14:07:02-05:00

Four Ways to Support Your Shy Child

Part of living a full life involves having new experiences. New experiences help us grow and develop as a person, gain confidence, and build self-esteem. Whether it’s starting a new job, taking up a new hobby, or meeting new people, most of us are familiar with a feeling of shyness or anxiety that can be stirred up within even the most extroverted personalities.  Sometimes shyness can affect us in all sorts of negative ways. It’s important to let our kids know that we all feel this emotion from time to time, and that there are lots of strategies to help us cope with new experiences without being overcome with anxiety.   Shyness is the main theme of Magination Press book Sophie’s Shell. Sophie is a happy snail who wants to learn more about the world around her. In fact, she is counting down the days before she can start school. When she gets to school though, that all seems to change. Sophie’s shy feeling is so strong that she has to keep popping back into her shell. POP! Parents may also identify with this. Many have had the experience of taking an excited child to a birthday party, but upon arrival, they could hardly look up, didn’t want to play, dance, or join in with the games, and just clung to their leg for the entire time. As a parent, you can feel surprised and frustrated and want to say, “Just go and enjoy yourself!”, “Don’t be shy!”, “Speak up!”, but these reactions won’t help your child or you. How You Can Help Don’t draw attention to it In Sophie’s Shell, Sophie has many episodes of feeling shy. This is often because people are paying lots of attention to her, even if it’s for positive things like admiring her beautiful art. Adults can help children when they are feeling shy by simply carrying on calmly and not drawing attention to it. Discreetly asking other adults to do the same can also help. Everyone feels shy sometimes, even grown ups Let your child know that everyone can feel shy in certain situations, and that it’s not something to feel ashamed of. Shyness can make us feel uncomfortable: sometimes Sophie has “a wobbly feeling in her tummy.” Share with your child times when you have felt shy, how you coped with it, and how the feeling went away. Little by little With all experiences, the more familiar you are with a new situation, the easier it becomes and the less shy you feel. This means being patient and believing that being in new situations will get easier.  Before a new experience, talk to your child about where they are going and how many people might be there.  Suggest a way to make a new friend, such as smiling and saying, “Hi.”   Arrive to a party early, so there are fewer people. This can help your child get used to the environment without them feeling they are arriving to lots of new faces.  Bring a conversation piece. Encourage your child to bring

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Four Ways to Support Your Shy Child 2019-12-03T14:18:36-05:00

Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Your Child with Depression by Fostering Positive Thinking

October is recognized as Depression Education and Awareness Month, but any parent with a child who suffers from depression knows that kids need support year round. Dr. James Foley, author of Magination Press’s book, Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression, offers these insights and tips for parents supporting children who suffer from depression. Four ways to increase your child’s positive thinking Depression is often characterized by negative and/or distorted thinking. You may notice your child more frequently engaging in negative self-talk such as, “I’m a dummy" or "I can never do this.” Such statements may indicate a pattern of negative thinking. Here are a few tips to begin the process of positive change: Set the stage for positive thinking through movement. Engage in a physical activity that your child enjoys on a regular schedule, especially when your child appears “down." Exercise elevates mood. Help your child think about the good things and not just the bad things. For example, involve your child in creating an electronic or paper collage filled with their wonderful qualities. Help your child think about what he or she can do and not what he or she can’t do. Make a list of your child’s positive accomplishments. Point out your child’s achievements, even small ones:  “You were a big help emptying the dishwasher today.” Model positive self-talk for your child: “I am really happy and proud that I finished all my work today.” Fostering small positive changes in the way your child thinks and acts can help them change the negative thinking that often accompanies depression. These tips are from James Foley, DEd, author of Magination Press’s book, Danny and the Blue Cloud: Coping with Childhood Depression.

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Magination Press Quick Tip: Supporting Your Child with Depression by Fostering Positive Thinking 2019-11-24T21:38:05-05:00