Homeschoolers: Bullies Don’t Social DistanceMarch 24, 2021
Guest post by Jody Token.
Three “no-contact” self-defense tips to protect your children from germs, bullies, and germy bullies.
Long before COVID-19 and “social distancing” was a thing, bullies roamed the hallways at home, in public, and at other activities. They still do.
By now, our children are familiar with navigating “social distancing” protocols, but do they have the skills to deal with bullies who intend to break physical barriers? Does your child exhibit any new fears of physical contact? This might be due to a bully situation or a new germ phobia.
Because the “germ” landscape is constantly changing, be sure to communicate with your child to determine the source of their fear and anxiety. Even as “social distancing” norms change, you can teach your children three “no-contact” self-defense skills and empower them to overcome the fear of germs, bullies, and germy bullies.
Your voice is the first line of self-defense. Ask your child to list all the ways his/her voice can be helpful if a bully is approaching.
A voice can:
- Communicate boundaries.
- Escalate or deescalate a situation.
- Yell for help.
- Build up or tear down.
- Express emotions.
Role-play with your child and encourage the development of their voice as a form of self-defense. Help your child choose the right words and correct tone of voice when communicating their feelings based on different situations. Teach them to be direct but not bossy, assertive but not aggressive. Begin with a calm voice, but as a situation changes, teach them it’s okay to be loud if necessary.
(As a self-defense instructor, I encourage children to be loud when counting repetitions in a warm-up exercise. For example, when doing jumping jacks, I will count 1-5, then encourage them to count aloud 6-10. Some children need to control their voice (tone it down, be loud without screaming.) Some children need to be encouraged to be loud. There’s something empowering about letting out a good loud shout! Create space to develop your child’s voice.
Your Inner Voice
A child’s inner voice might dictate the way they express themself outwardly. Talk to your child about the voice inside their head. If they believe things that are not true, give them affirming words to replace the negative voice. Share God’s voice (God’s Word found in the Bible) with your child. Read God’s promises to your child and encourage them to memorize and internalize and recognize God’s voice. (One of my favorites is Romans 8:37-39.)
End your time by using your voice to speak kind words to each other.
Taking care of your body is a powerful form of self-defense. Defend your body with posture, hygiene and healthy habits.
Body language matters.
Poor posture can make your child appear weak. Bullies seek victims who look weak. But strong body language can make them appear strong. Even if they don’t feel confident, they can still look confident by standing tall with proper posture.
The ole “place a hardcover book on your head” trick works to improve posture every time. Place a book on your child’s head and walk around the room keeping the book balanced. Make sure their head and eyes are up looking forward. Make a game out of this experiment.
I know you’ve heard it a million times, but it’s worth repeating and practicing.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Cover your mouth with your elbow when you cough or sneeze. Then go wash your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Healthy Habits Matter
Good nutrition and exercise defend your body against obesity and strengthens your immune system to fight off germs. Personal trainers and nutritionists agree that a healthy body is 80 percent good nutrition and 20 percent exercise.
Here are four healthy habits to defend your body:
- Drink more water and less sugary drinks.
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat healthy whole foods and less processed foods.
- Exercise every day at least 30 minutes and decrease screen time.
More than ever, children understand the concept of “distance management.” Prior to COVID, I spent a lot of time explaining “distance management.” Now, I say those two magic words “social distance” and they understand spatial orientation when it comes to the space between people.
Now that children understand the idea of “social distancing,” you can apply self-defense strategies to their personal space and safety.
Your personal space is typically the space inside your arm span. Extend your arms out in front of you. This is your personal space. When confronted with a bully or someone walking towards you, protecting your personal space will keep you safe (from germs and a physical confrontation).
When your child’s voice is not respected, then your child will need to be prepared to defend his/her personal space. Roleplay by stepping toward your child. Teach them to keep their arms up while at the same time stepping back or around to maintain their personal space. Use that voice to assert boundaries!
If a person gets too close, your child can use their hands to themself. Or they don’t want to use their hands, they can learn the push-kick self-defense technique. Request a free video to learn this skill at www.thegreatflip.com .
Keep this activity fun, playful, and empowering. Carefully balance on one foot and place the other foot just above your training partner’s knee. Now, push your partner away. If you don’t have a training buddy, carefully use your foot to push open a door. This is the push kick.
To learn more about self-defense training or create a simple martial arts experience at home, contact Jody Token, the creator and coach of The Great Flip, online self-defense, safety, and faith-filled empowerment for ages six and up.
More About the Author:
Jody Token, a certified Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor and national girl-ministry influencer, intends to turn girl power upside down, equip girls to overcome fear with faith and sneak in a few super-power ninja skills.
Before launching The Great Flip, an online self-defense and life skills platform for ages six and up, Coach Jody served as the national marketing director at American Heritage Girls, a Christ-centered character and leadership development program for girls 5 to 18 years of age. Jody’s two daughters and husband inspired her to develop an online self-defense experience to gain a basic understanding of self-defense, avoid the stinky gym, and improve overall health and wellness. The Great Flip online videos and curriculum are used at home, at school, and after-school nationwide. Join Coach Jody to give girls self-defense, safety and faith-filled empowerment at The Great Flip. See you on the mat! – Coach Jody