"The Geek Club - Kindness Destroys Bullying" is a book aimed for 7 - 12 year olds, written by Kathy Pepper and edited by Auri'An Lay. Auri'An also contributed information regarding the mindfulness tools used in the book to help children in recognising negative emotions and learning how to deal with them through BiteSized Mindfulness Practices and other methods.
Monique loves all these things: her diary that she calls Jo, her friends, being kind and anything to do with the latest technology like iPhones, tablets, etc. Nelly is the school bully and she is determined to see Monique (or “Geeky Moniquee” as she cruelly calls her) feeling sad and lonely. This story highlights in the words and language of a 12-year-old girl, the serious issue of bullying as well as the joy of performing random acts of kindness, whilst encouraging you to complete activities with your e-pal. You can purchase this book to read to your child, for your child to read or as a Teacher. Children are given the strategies needed to deal with bullies and negative emotions. Activities are included. This book can be used as a classroom unit. It is suited for children aged 6-12. It is recommended teachers and parents read the activities first and then find a buddy-school and/or an e-pal to complete the activities together. Let’s teach children how to deal with bullies whilst spreading kindness all over the world.
As the child reads the book, there are a number of activities that a teacher or other adult can guide the child through. The activities link closely with the Australian Curriculum and involve English, Maths, HASS and ICT. Activities actively explore the child's emotions with an especial emphasis on bullying, what to do and when to do it; how words can cause damage; when to deal with it yourself (ice-cream issue) or when they need to notify an adult (cyclone issue). Tools that the child can use involve breathing exercises, recognising emotions, the "I am Feeling" Emotional Ladder and High 5. A main theme through the book is how performing Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) for other students, family and into the community, can help the child feel a lot better and more confident about their self.
Discuss whether this is an “Oh no! I dropped my ice-cream” problem, or is it a “cyclone problem.”
Remind them that ice-cream problems can be sorted out by themselves using the high 5’s.
Ice-cream problems if done repeatedly can become cyclone problems.
If it is a cyclone problem, tell an adult straight away.
Ask the child when they come to you “Is this and ice-cream or cyclone problem and have you used your High 5’s?”
When a child feels upset by something that’s happened, ask the child to show you their hand and point to each finger and go through one point per finger:
Ignore the person
Ask the person to please stop. Use their hand to make a stop sign.
Walk away from the person and find someone else to sit/play with.
Find somewhere safe to go. Go and stand next to an adult.
If it continues it has become a cyclone problem. Now is the time to tell the teacher or an adult.
There is so much information available about Mindfulness - the internet, books, magazine articles and with so much information I am totally astounded that there are people in the world who do not make this practice a part of their daily lives! Mindfulness is an amazing tool for aiding with those times of stress, anxiety etc - and it's no different for our children. Many of our children are displaying the signs of stress, with as many as 1 in 4 to 5 children being diagnosed with an anxiety related disorder. The median age of that diagnosis is just 6 years old. These children are the future of humanity. We have a duty of care to show them how to recognise and deal with such things.
I believe that we have to start, like with anything else, at the very beginning. You can't expect someone to play the piano without a whole lot of teaching and practice. It's exactly the same with mindfulness. We need to start at the most basic level. Expecting a child to learn to meditate without first teaching them how to recognise and deal with their emotions is just silly! And where better to start - right at the beginning with something they have done since the moment they were born - breathe. And we have to remember that these are kids, with short attention spans. If we want to help them make Mindfulness a part of their lives, a tool they can use for the rest of their lives, we need to keep it within their attention span and make it fun. With that in mind, I introduced BiteSized Mindful Practices into my local primary school, which happened to be the school where The Geek Club" was also being introduced. Perfect!
Children often find it hard to describe their emotions. We can teach them how each emotion usually feels, but it can be confusing. For example: Angry: Shoulders are tense / hands in fists / neck and jaw are tense / breath held / eyes scrunched up REALLY excited: Shoulders are tense / hands in fists / neck and jaw are tense / breath held / eyes wide
Hmmmm.... not a lot of difference!
A large print of the ladder on the classroom wall allows a child to point to where they feel they are. Small, individual copies on each each child's desk - with a token of some type - allows the child the slide the token to what they are feeling at any time. This is also a good indicator for the teacher!
"My Happy Place" is where the child is aiming to be and tools such as mindful breathing and random acts of kindness are just some of the ways you can discuss with your child or children how they can aim to be in their Happy Place as often as possible.
In the book, Monique performs several random acts of kindness (RAKs) . When she is bullied by Nelly, Monique recognised that the emotion she felt was sadness and decided to do the opposite in order to counteract the sadness. "On that very bad, sad, horrible day, I thought about the mindfulness breathing I did in my old school and how it helped me when things got hard. Nelly’s words had made me feel so sad, so I thought about the opposite of sad. Happy. Happy is the opposite of sad and it makes me happy to be nice to someone else for no reason. So, I thought about what the opposite of bullying is and its kindness, Jo. I think kindness is contagious – if I do something kind for someone, then they feel better and maybe they’ll do something kind for someone else and I decided, right then, to do random acts of kindness every day. I’m going to do kind things for other people every day because that helps to make me happy and it is the opposite of bullying. And I don’t like bullying! That day I helped a teacher set up a game for the preppies. I didn’t have to be asked I just did it to be nice. There are thousands of ways to be kind to someone, Jo."