​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Starting in early childhood

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

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

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

Bullying can be prevented by starting in early childhood. Helpful guidance from parents, carers and educators at this early age sets children up for positive interactions later in life.

The Allen AdventureThe Allen Adventure app

The Allen Adventure is a fun story about an alien who comes to a school on Earth and has to learn how to get on with other people. The story is a starting point for parents and carers to talk about some important social and emotional skills with children aged 3 to 8 years.

Download the free interactive app for Apple IOS and Android devices or watch a video version of The Allen Adventure.

Read about the story and get some ideas for your everyday activities with young children.

Lesson plans and other resources are available for early childhood educators. Allen solves a problem resource  introduces problem-solving skills in the early childhood education setting and at home.

The Allen learns about feelings resource uses fun emojis in activities and worksheets to support the development of emotional literacy in young children.

Information for parents and educators

Very young children may be aggressive and act out when they are angry or don't get what they want, but this is not bullying.

Read about typical social and emotional development for children at various ages. When you know what children should be able to do, you can be more confident about when you should expect more 'grown up' behaviour.

Bullying-like behaviour can start in the early years. Parents and early childhood educators need to be alert and take steps early.

Adults at home and in early childhood settings have an important role in preventing bullying. Parents, carers and early childhood educators can foster social and emotional skills, model positive behaviours, set clear rules, and monitor for warning signs of bullying.

Teach social-emotional skills in everyday activities and experiences. Talk about and use role play to help children learn how to take turns, join in games, be friendly, apologise and include other people in activities.  The Allen learns about feelings puppets (PDF, 1.9 MB) can be made with young children and can be useful in acting out feelings and exploring problem solving.

Aggression is a normal part of young children's development. Use everyday events in a young child's life, such as a fight over a toy, to talk about better ways to work out their problems, especially conflict with others. Read more about ways to prevent bullying behaviour and what to do if you see aggressive or inappropriate social behaviour.

If you want to talk to someone right now or you have specific concerns about your child, please contact the Parent Line in your area.