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Incidents on the playground
Wietske Boon

I am teaching four and five year olds and often one of them complains that one of the other children hurt them. Do you have any practical ideas on handling the situation when a child complains about an incident?

We asked Wietske Boon, a play therapist in Pretoria, to assist with this issue. According to her, children often hurt their friends either by accident or it is the child’s way to communicate emotions such as anger, frustration or even sadness. Most children of that age still find it difficult to communicate their emotions (and even thoughts) and then lash out to others.

The best way to handle the situation is to teach the whole class the following:

When someone hurts me, I need to:

If the same child hurts other children repeatedly, you need to inform the parents. If one child is repeatedly the victim of bullying, you also need to inform the parents. Both these children will need support so handle the situation effectively.

Schools should have a bully policy in place to guide them when bullying occurs at school.

Wietske Boon, wietske@childtherapist.co.za; www.childtherapist.co.za

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