Bullying prevention in the early years

You don’t need to use the word ‘bullying’ to begin to teach young children a wide range of skills that will help to prevent bullying.

Between the ages of 3 and 5, children are learning how to get along with each other, share and understand their feelings.

Children are not born knowing how to behave and how to get on with others. They learn this gradually over time in nurturing environments.

Parents, carers and early childhood educators are children’s first teachers about positive and healthy relationships.

They have a critical role in teaching children the appropriate ways to behave, alternatives to inappropriate behaviour, and how to respond if other children’s behaviour upsets them.

The role of parents and educators

In early childhood, teaching children how to get along with others, share, and understand their feelings can help prevent bullying.

Helpful guidance from parents, carers and educators at this early age sets children up for positive interactions later in life.

Children are very observant. If you act in a way that you want children to behave, they learn just from watching.

Parents and educators can:

  • model appropriate behaviour
  • have reasonable expectations
  • respect children’s feelings
  • encourage empathy
  • teach social problem solving skills
  • give realistic and specific praise
  • allow the chance to ‘fail’ and try again
  • respond appropriately if you see aggressive behaviour
  • start early with online safety.

To learn more about the role of parents and educators on the Bullying. No Way! website.

Find more information

  • The Allen Adventure app is a fun, interactive story for young children. Allen is a young visitor from another planet and is learning how to get along with his new Earthling classmates.
  • Allen solves a problem teaching resource provides a structure for talking with young children about how to work out what to do if they have a social problem or conflict.
  • Allen learns about feelings teaching resources support the development of emotional literacy in young children.
  • There’s a range of early childhood resources on the Bullying. No Way! website.
  • The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence occurs on the third Friday in March each year. The day calls on people all over Australia to take a stand together against bullying and violence.


Published — 04 March 2019 Last updated — 04 March 2019

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