Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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The Power of the Parental Pen: Fostering Kindness through Children's Books and Reading

Parents and guardians have a significant role in fostering kindness in their children. Often, they are the first role models children emulate.

Books and reading play a pivotal role in this process. In lieu of didactic preaching about kindness, a children’s book can weave it subtly in a story, reinforcing the concept more effectively.

Embedding Kindness in Storytime
Parents and guardians, by sharing narratives, fables, and tales that highlight kindness, can help children internalize these values at a young age. The stories, whether about everyday heroes or imaginary characters, can encourage the little ones to empathize with other characters, promoting kindness, sharing, caring, and helping.

Take A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh series, for example. The friendship between Christopher Robin and his menagerie of anthropomorphic stuffed animals teaches readers of all ages about empathy, love, and friendship. In Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! the protagonist, Horton, teaches the significance of kindness, empathy, and fairness by believing in a world where every voice, no matter how small, counts.

Role-Modeling Through Reading
Parents and guardians are not just their child’s first teachers, but also their first and most significant role models. How they react to different situations, their interactions with others - all these observed behaviors are ways children learn about kindness.

While reading a book, a parent can pause and discuss the character’s actions, questioning if the character was kind or unkind, and what the child would do if they were in the character's shoes. Through this, a child can witness and understand how kindness shapes actions and relations.

Kindness in Continuity
Kindness should not be a one-time lesson, but rather a value that is reinforced over time. It can be more impactful for a child to see recurring themes of kindness across different books and narratives.

Building a Bookshelf that Reflects Kindness
Choosing books that reflect kindness is also significant. Parents or guardians can build a child’s bookshelf by including books with diverse characters from various backgrounds who display kindness. This approach ensures children understand that kindness is universal and is not confined to any particular group or culture.

In conclusion, as parents, teachers, and gatekeepers of children’s literature, we have a powerful tool at our disposal. Through consciously selecting books that promote kindness, we can instill this vital trait in our children, shaping them into compassionate adults and contributing to a kinder, compassionate world.

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