Welcome back to this week’s segment of After School Tea Time! Get your tea cups ready because we have more to spill this week! Keep your questions coming because you could be helping someone who has similar questions!
Question from Fairfield County – There was recently an incident in our program where a child made a negative comment about another child’s body. This child now feels self-conscious and does not want to participate in activities anymore. How can I help this child feel comfortable with participating again? What can I do to prevent this kind of situation from happening again?
Hey Fairfield, thank you for asking this question. Situations dealing with body image are sensitive and should be handled carefully. It is important to be mindful about how you approach the situation. I would first have a conversation with the child who made the comment and remind them that those kinds of words are hurtful and should not be used. Explain to them that using those words can stick with someone and affect them for many years. Frame the situation in a different perspective and ask them how they would feel if someone said something mean about their appearance. I would also talk to the child who was affected by this comment and reassure them that there is nothing wrong with the way they look. Let them know that feeling self-conscious is a normal reaction to hearing mean comments. Encourage them to try to participate again while also establishing that they are in a safe space to rejoin the group. A simple group activity that can be done is the crumpled paper bullying lesson which you can find instructions for here. The idea is that everyone will take a piece of paper, say mean things to the paper and crumble the paper into a ball. When the paper is opened up, it will be wrinkled. The wrinkles represent how being mean to someone can stick with them forever. It’s an easy activity but has a powerful message.
We’ll see you next week for another segment of After School Tea Time! Don’t forget to submit your anonymous questions here.