We know that bullying and self-esteem have a huge impact on each other, but how can we build up the latter to prevent the former? Every day there are kids being bullied in school and you may not even know about it. When a child is bullied, it lowers their self-esteem and they start to feel bad about themselves. Why would someone pick on me? What did I do? Kids like to have fun and there are definitely ways to have fun and learn something at the same time. I created this list of activities you can do with your kids to discuss bullying and self-esteem.
Bullying and Self Esteem Activities for Your Kids
The Crumpled Paper Activity: You may have heard this one, but it is a good visual for everyone to experience. It is simple with a strong message. All you need is a piece of paper for each person. Now crumple it up. As tight as you can make it. Step on it, stomp on it, just don’t rip it. Now unravel it, and make it as smooth as possible. What’s the matter? Isn’t the paper returning back to its smooth and clean unrumpled self? This is what happens when someone is bullied.
The Toothpaste Experiment: If I were you, I would get a tube from the dollar store, you don’t want to waste good, hard earned money on this (as important as it is). Do not explain to the kids what is going on (well they need to know you are discussing bullying). Just ask one of them to empty the tube of toothpaste, completely. Now ask another child if they can get the toothpaste back in the tube. Impossible right? This is what happens when you put someone down. Once it leaves your lips (leaves the tube), you can’t take it back (just like the toothpaste). It is a powerful visual for kids!
‘I am…’: It is important for kids to recognize the uniqueness they all have. Something happens when kids become teens, and we (because ‘we’ have all been there) forget the important parts of us and want to just be like our friends. Or we get hurt by the things people say when they pick on those unique things about us. On a piece of paper, write ‘I am’ and then a bunch of thoughts and talking bubbles (just to make it fun and cute). In each one, they are to write something they are. Things like a good singer, great at sports, a book lover, you get the idea.
A Pat on the Back: This is fun for all ages! Have the kids trace their hand and then cut it out. Their name goes on the palm and then tape it to their backs. Going around, the room, other students write something nice about the other person on a finger. Once all 5 are filled with a nice compliment or something nice they have done for someone else, they can sit down. Then it is time to read aloud all the nice things that were said about them. You can do this with your kids at home too! Get the family involved, we all like to hear nice things about ourselves and sometimes in the day-to-day bustle of life, we can forget to let others know how much we appreciate them.
It is important to remind kids that sometimes other kids can be cruel but to stick up for themselves and not let the words someone may say to them, bother them. It is better to be a friend than a bully. My 6-year-old is already experiencing this in school. Let’s all teach our kids that they are important and to help make others feel the same way!