How can I teach my son how to handle teasing or bullying at school?

Bullying begins as early as preschool, so it’s wonderful that you want to teach your son coping strategies for dealing with a bully. One of the best ways to teach your child how to handle teasing and bullying is to model confident, respectful behavior with other people. You can also practice standing up to a bully by role playing with your child. Explain to him that while he cannot control the bully’s behavior, he can control how he responds. Make sure to tell you child that there is no shame in being frightened by a bully, and that he can always choose to walk away if he does not feel comfortable standing up to the bully or ask for help. It is also important he knows that he should tell you if he is being bullied. Two wonderful books that introduce the topic of bullying to preschoolers are “One” by Kathryn Otoshi and “Llama Llama and the Bully Goat” by Anna Dewdney.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.