What is Pink Shirt Day? Pink Shirt Day reminds us how to be friends and we celebrate it by wearing pink shirts. It started by a simple act of kindness and compassion with an anti-bullying message.
This day was born ten years ago. A high school student noticed another student being bullied after he wore a pink shirt to school. Because he had been bullied too he was bothered by the situation. He and a friend bought dozens and dozens of pink shirts and passed them out to others to all wear at school. The message spread and more people joined in. Now, it is spreading around the world and including people of all ages.
Earlier this month, I saw an article headline that concerns preschool children, “Nurseries urged to provide a ‘safe space’ for boys to wear pink and girls to be builders.” It seems no matter how hard we try and be neutral, somehow kids pick up that some toys and clothes are for girls, that is pink and dolls, and some are for boys, like blue and action figures. As young as kids are in preschool programs, they encounter what the article calls ‘gender-police.’ Fortunately, “…children are very understanding and accepting, they simply need to have the situation explained to them,” that all kids can play with all toys and not everyone will like the same things. It’s okay for some girls to play with building blocks and some boys to play with dolls. It’s okay for boys and girls to both wear pink and blue.
Pink Shirt Day reminds us how to be friends. It not only promotes understanding, it also encourages us to support each other. We need to be more accepting and offer each other kindness. Even a small act of kindness can mean a huge difference to another person. It can grow and create amazing connections. In the spirit of Pink Shirt Day, no matter where you live, can you encourage your child to do something kind for someone else?
Is it Pink Shirt Day where you live? Have you heard of it? Seven years ago, 2 boys got a group of friends to all wear pink shirts in support of another classmate who was teased and bullied about wearing a pink shirt. When dozens and dozens of kids showed up all wearing pink shirts, the message was powerful and the bullying stopped. Since then, the idea has spread across North American and beyond. It has become a day to talk about how bullying can affect kids and what we can do. In the words of these kids at Capilano, it’s time to “Be A Friend.”
Just in case we think preschoolers are too young, it turns out that children only 1-2 years old will attempt to help others. (sciencemag.org, July 23, 2007) Even chimpanzees have an understanding of a situation that is unfair. Social skills are such a critical part of children’s reality. At school, children will be in rooms of 20 or more classmates with 1, perhaps 2 adults. Kids need to know basic skills for getting along with others, safe boundaries, and how to ask for help when needed. That’s a lot to expect of such young, vulnerable children and they will need our support and time to practice.
On a blog from Tree Frog Daycare, some of the messages for us to share with young children are:
- “be kind
- take care of each other,
- your voice is important,
- if something is bothering you use your words and
- tell someone so we can help you.”
These are great messages for all of us. And for any day, not just Pink Shirt Day. Talk with your child today about being a buddy, not a bully. Read a book together. Tell a story with 2 stuffies or puppets that have a problem and need to work out a solution. Wear something pink and talk about why it’s important. Is this a concern for you and your child?
Why is kindergarten readiness wearing a pink shirt today? Because it’s Pink Shirt or Anti-Bullying Day. This year, it is just 6 years old and it started when 2 boys got a group of friends to all wear pink shirts in support of a classmate who was teased and bullied about wearing a pink shirt. Since then, the idea has spread and has become a day to talk about how bullying can affect kids and what we can do.
It’s an important day for parents, too. In 2012 Dr. Rashmi Shetgiri led a research study into bullying. Results were published in the American Journal of Public Health, “We discovered how important parental communication and involvement with their children can be in preventing bullying,” Shetgiri said.
Children’s learning in school only builds on what parents have already started at home. In Dr. Shetgiri’s words, “I can never state enough the importance of being as present and involved in a child’s life as possible.”
For a play-of-the-day today, spend some time with your child. You can talk together, read a book, sing some songs, build with blocks, play with toys, go for a walk, or swing in the park. Having children help with a task or chore gives them a chance to feel like they are contributing. Oh, and wear a pink shirt. After all, it’s Pink Shirt Day. Is this an issue for your child?
P.S. Just had to add a postscript when I saw this on FB. It’s perfect for today and big advice from a little people.
“Someone was excited to wear his pink shirt today and said “mommy I need to wear pink to my school today so people will stop being mean to each other and saying mean things, you know mommy that’s not nice” pretty cool to see that he understands the concept behind this. ❤”
Is it Pink Shirt Day in your area today? Daycare and preschool is a fact of life for many young kids and some centers will be talking about personal safety and bullying. Little children are still sorting out what kinds of behavior are acceptable and sometimes hitting, grabbing away and pushing can happen. As parents and … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Is it Pink Shirt Day?
The last Wednesday in February is Pink Shirt Day (different in some areas). This special day started in Canada in 2007 by 2 high school boys who saw a younger boy being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Asking their friends to wear pink shirts or using 50 they had purchased they banded with … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Pink Shirt Day