No child should ever experience bullying.

In the spirit of these six simple yet paramount words, Summit Academy Schools will be entrenched in Bullying Prevention Week, Oct. 18-22. Classroom lessons as well as breakfast/lunch/designated free periods led by behavior specialists will immerse students in antibullying activities and discussions. Mid-week, Wednesday, Oct. 20, members of the entire school community will recognize Unity Day, some by wearing orange, all by celebrating kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

Lessons that teach these practices should continue long after the last bell of the school day rings, says Caitlin G. Keener MSW, LSW, CCTP, Summit Academy Regional Special Education Director – Southern Region. Keener offers family members three useful tips to help prevent child bullying.

Help children understand bullying.

“Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it,” Keener explains. She advises parents and guardians to talk with youngsters about how to recognize bullying and to help them stand up for themselves safely by using words such as “stop,” directly and confidently, when confronted by a bully.

Keener urges adults to make sure their students know how to get help. “Encourage your kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are being bullied or if they see bullying occurring,” Keener says. “Make sure your kids know bullying is unacceptable.”

Keep the lines of communication open.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, guardians, check in with your child often, Keener advises.  “Know their friends, ask about school, listen to their concerns,” she says.

Keener recommends that adults spend time — even if it’s just 15 minutes — each day just chatting with their children and reassuring them that they can come to mom, dad, grandpa or grandma if they have a problem. She suggests asking questions like:

What was one good thing that happened today?

Did anything bad happen today?

What is lunchtime like at your school?

Questions such as these will help break the ice and open the conversation about potential bullying.

Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.

“Kids learn from adults’ actions,” Keener says. “Modeling kindness and respect shows our kids that is how they should treat others.”