Bullies come in all sizes. Sometimes they are merely 2 feet tall and have a few teeth missing.
When a child says, “nobody plays with me” you as a parent would think of tens of reasons in a jiffy. But the one thing we rarely consider is group-ism or bullying at even preschool level.
“We don’t want to play with you!”
Ouch! The feeling of being left out or being pushed-around can be just as painful for kids as in adulthood.
While most parents are aware of school bullying being rampant in late elementary schools, but, believe it or not, bullying among pre-schoolers is more common than you think. We think these kids are too young for the kind of tormenting we associate with bullying. Our youngest and most vulnerable age group, the toddler and preschool crowd are also victim to little-kid bullying.
When Ayaan, brought home his class picture. He pointed from one smiling child to the next, naming them, “that’s Rhea, that’s Thavish, that’s Reyan, that’s…a bad boy”. He opened up to his mother slowly, about how his classmate never allowed Ayaan on the trampoline; snatched his cookies during snack-time and occupied his place during circle time.
Gosh! Before an enlightening episode with his school picture, Ayaan refused to go to fellow birthday parties and his parents thought it must be overwhelming and loud. He refused to get in the carpool and we assumed he wanted mommy to drive him to school. Time and time again he gave subtle hints that his adults failed to notice.
Children at such tender age very rarely articulate their precise trouble. It is extremely important that we as adults read between the lines (without jumping to quick conclusions / making hasty decisions) and keenly observe any persistent unusual behavior.