If your child is in day care in Wellard or any other Perth suburb, you may have heard about bullying that occasionally happens in other day care centres. Bullying is more common in primary and secondary schools, but it can also happen in day care centres. Luckily for you and your child, we are aware of the potential for bullying and know how to “nip it in the bud.”
You may have experienced hitting or biting with your toddler, both as the victim and as the perpetrator. From the ages of 2-3-½ years, this behaviour can progress into bullying due to a peak in aggression that is a normal part of child development.
At the University of Montreal, Canada, Dr Richard Tremblay demonstrated that aggression in a child can start during the first year of life. Dr Tremblay goes as far as to suggest that aggression is natural and that parents must teach their children not to be aggressive.
According to the study, while aggression will increase and peak at 42 months, it does tend to decrease steadily after it peaks.
Common Types of Day Care Bullying
The most common types of bullying in day care are physical and verbal. Social isolation can also come into play, but not as often. Physical bullying includes punching, kicking, pushing, hitting and similar behaviours. While they can occur on a regular basis, they aren’t bullying until they are done on a repeated basis to one particular child.
Verbal bullying includes name-calling, negative or hurtful comments about one’s appearance and other verbal barbs. Social isolation means that a child is excluded by the rest of the group from games and other activities.
What You Can Do to Help
Day care personnel do everything they can to detect and stop bullying, but some can slip between the cracks. If your child suddenly doesn’t want to go to day care, call your provider immediately and see if they can detect bullying.
If your child is the one doing the bullying, keep an open mind when your day care centre contacts you about it. Don’t defend your child and say, “My child would never do such a thing.”
It takes a village to stop bullying. We do our part, but we appreciate it when parents act as other sets of eyes, too.