Many children act out.  They can hit other children, throw tantrums, and generally make a scene.  But how do you know if you’re child is a bully at preschool?  And what would be the reasons for this?
Here are 3 reasons your child might be a bully at preschool:

  • Their Temper
  • They’re Not Loved
  • They’re Scared

So what do each of those 3 things mean exactly?  And just because my child has a temper, does that really mean they’re a bully?  Let’s take a look:
Temper:  Some preschool children have tempers.  If they can’t play with their toy, sit in their chair, or generally have their way then watch out!  Tempers and temper-tantrums could be a sign that your child might start bullying.
Not Loved:  Some children just aren’t being told enough how much you care about them.  This can lead them to lash out at others.  Remind them often how special they are.
Scared:  Le’s face it; preschool can be scary.  Your child is away from home, without you, and around a lot of new people.  Acting aggressively could just be a way for them to deal with being afraid, and you should do everything to reassure them.

How Do I Know if My Child’s a Bully?

There are a few things you can do to figure out if your child is a preschool bully or not.
Talk with Teachers
You’re not going to get all the answers from your child, and other kids probably won’t be a fount of information.  But the teachers at your child’s preschool should know the skinny on what’s going on.  While it’s true they won’t be able to see everything, and perhaps won’t even see the worst cases of bullying, they will most likely have seen something at one point or another that’ll put up some kind of warning flag.
Watch the Preschool
Next time you’re heading to the preschool to pick up your child, come in a little early.  Don’t tell your child you’re coming in, and if you’re in communication with the preschool you can probably have things arranged beforehand so your child won’t see you.
Get a good spot where they can’t see you and watch them at play.  See how they interact with other children and watch if they’re doing anything that would be indicative of bullying.  If you do, gently ask them about their behavior later in the day.  Say something like “Why do you push other kids at preschool?”
“But mom, I don’t!”
“Then why did I see you push over that little boy in the green shirt today?”
Your child’s wide eyes should tell you all you need to know on that one.  Now would be a good time to talk about bullying and nip it in the bud early before it becomes a problem later in school.

Ways to Stop Your Child’s Bullying

So what can you do to stop your child’s bullying?  Try these 3 things:
Monitoring:  It may have been pointed out to you from the preschool teacher that your child was showing signs of bullying.  Having that same teacher give you some feedback on how your child’s doing now is key.  It’s probably a given that the preschool teacher is already monitoring your child to see if their behavior has changed.  Call them up, chat after class, or even send an email to get some progress reports.
Good Qualities:  Highlight all the good qualities your child has.  Write them down on a piece of paper or type them up into the computer.   Is there any way you can accentuate these to make instances of bullying decrease?  And how much are you pointing these good qualities out to your child?  You should always applaud your child’s efforts, encourage them in what they’re doing, and tell them how much you love and care about them several times a day.  Sometimes bullying simply comes about from a child not feeling they’re cared about enough.
Reward:  If you’re child has been bullying before but now they’ve cleaned up their act, let them know how happy you are.  Reward them with a new toy or a nice trip to the ice cream parlor.  Both are good opportunities to tell them the benefits of treating people with respect and how we’d want to be treated.  Hopefully your fun time out will reinforce the idea that good acts are far more rewarding than bad.