I am a ‘ShineBright’ Ambassador and have been compensated for my participation. All opinions are my own.
One of the things that surprised me the most about Ayva starting kindergarten is talking to other kindergarten parents about how early bullying starts. We’re very fortunate to be in a school where bullying isn’t tolerated, and that the administration really focuses on teaching the kids to be friends to each other, but I know in many schools, that isn’t the case. Earlier this week, the beloved holiday classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” came on, and many parents used the film to talk about bullying and acceptance with their young children.
As you might recall, Rudolph, with his glowing nose, was different than all of the other reindeer. Instead of accepting and celebrating him for being unique, Rudolph’s peers made fun of him and treated him bad. Most children watching the movie would immediately empathize with Rudolph’s plight, but may not be able to make the connection to their own lives. That’s where the PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center toolkit comes in handy. This great resource helps parents start conversations with their young children about bullying in a safe way.
I talked to Ayva about how she would feel if she were left out like Rudolph was, and she said she would feel sad. She knows what it feels like to be left out, and understands that it’s not something that she would want anyone else to feel. In fact, one of my proudest moments was when her teachers told Terrence and me in our parent / teacher conference that they encourage children who are feeling left out to find Ayva because she plays with anyone. Even though she gets it now, we want to make sure acceptance and being a good friend remain important to Ayva, so we’ll be using the other activities in the PACER Shine Bright toolkit to continue to bring the message home over the holiday season and beyond.
If you missed “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the other night, don’t worry! The holiday classic is also an ebook – “The Legend of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Purchase the book, and $1 from each purchase will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. You can also get a “ShineBright” t-shirt, and a portion of all sales will be donated to the cause. For more information or to purchase the eBook or t-shirt, visit PACER.org/ShineBright.