On Monday, October 9, 2023, Celebrate Kindness in Chalk to stand up to bullying with local blogger and Twin Cities mom– Nicki–of MinneMama Adventures. The day also kicks off STAND UP for Others Week – a part of National Bullying Prevention Month. This is a great opportunity to touch base with our kids, their schools and fellow students to encourage a week of inclusion and find ways to confront the harm and trauma of bullying.
October is National Bullying Awareness Month
Do you have a plan for the day your kid comes home from school crying because someone on the bus was threatening to punch him? Do you have a plan for the day you get a call from your child’s teacher saying, “Hayden was hurting his classmate”? Do you have a plan for building up your children without encouraging self centered or egotistical behavior? I thought I did until my son came home crying because someone on the bus was being mean to him every day. We love that Nicki from Minnemama Adventures started Kindness in Chalk as a way to fight bullying and promote inclusion, acceptance and kindness.
Thankfully, when this happened to my son, he was in kindergarten and his “bus pal” was also in kindergarten, so it did not escalate from verbal bullying to physical bullying. But he was hurting emotionally and he was understandably taking it out on everyone at home. Social bullying has a way of spreading if not challenged.
I have always wanted to teach my kids that they have value and worth. That what they say and do impacts the world. I want them to grow up showing love and knowing that every person in the school has value as well. That’s the easy part.
The hard part is when you have soft-hearted kids, it can be hard to teach them to stand up for themselves. We can start the process by teaching them to stand up for others. When they see someone being hurt, you can direct your kids to make sure their classmate is okay. When they see someone being bullied, we can teach our kids to say something in defense of the hurting. As they show kindness to others, they can learn that they are important in other’s lives and that they shouldn’t have to take it when people bully them either.
Kindness in Chalk
You may be asking why Family Fun Twin Cities is posting about bullying. And that’s a fair question. We wanted to let you know of an opportunity happening in October.
In 2014, fellow Twin Cities mom– Nicki–of Minnemama Adventures inadvertently started a viral campaign called Kindness in Chalk in honor of her brother. She has continued the annual tradition ever since and it has grown into an international sidewalk chalk movement – a world day when children of all ages can make their own “public service announcements” by creating positive messages in chalk.
Each October, in honor of National Bullying Awareness month, she is encourages everyone to participate in a creative way to stand by those who need to be shown love. Join schools all over the state and the country to take a stand against bullying by making your schools’ sidewalks and parking lots into chalk art canvases supporting kindness in the schools and around the world.
Who wants to join us?
Here are some great ways to get your family and school involved in the Kindness and Chalk Movement and National Bullying Prevention Month:
- Stock up on sidewalk chalk.
- Go here to join the Kindness in Chalk movement! And the Stomp Out Bullying website to learn more about National Bullying Prevention Month. There are plenty of other ideas for school activities that can bring awareness of the prevalence of bullying and challenge others to take a stand.
- Join and follow this year’s event on the official Facebook event page.
- Get your school involved. Talk to your classroom teacher and/or principal. Make your project an open invitation to the whole school! It is good to get permission before chalking up someone’s sidewalk – even public sidewalks of school grounds.
- If you can’t get others involved, plan to chalk your own walk.
- A few days beforehand, have a dinner conversation about what positive words, phrases, quotes and/or images you and your kids can use with the goal of bringing smiles to other kids’ faces (and adults). Our neighborhood school participates every year and it really is heartwarming to walk through the schoolyard that week.
- Dinner could also be a great time to discuss related topics, like cyberbullying, effects of bullying from anxiety to depression, what constitutes bullying behaviors, how kids can be part of the solution and how to be an ally and show solidarity with their classmates.
- Share your chalk art on social media with hashtags: #kindnessinchalk #kindnessmatters and #antibullyingmovement.
More Special Anti-Bullying Dates in October
- Monday, October 2, 2023 – Kick off the month by wearing a blue shirt for Blue Shirt Day and the World Day of Bullying Prevention. Learn more and buy an official 2023 t-shirt on Stomp Out Bullying’s website.
- Wednesday, October 11, 2023 -National Coming Out Day. Bullying is significantly higher among children who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ).
- October 9-13, 2023 – STAND UP for Others Week.
- October 16-20, 2023 – Week of Inclusion.
- Wednesday, October 18, 2023 – Wear Orange and share the color orange to celebrate Unity Day. Learn more and find an official t-shirt from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.
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