Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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Navigating my Child's Fear: The Power of Courageous Characters in Children's Books

Anyone who has raised or currently raises a child may have experienced identifying specific areas where your child struggles. Sometimes, it's mathematics, other times it's sports, but for some, it may be a subtler area - like courage. Recently, I found myself confronting this challenge with my child. My child, a brilliant, inquisitive, perceptive, and delightful being, showed a tendency to withdraw from situations that required a bit of courage. Noticing this ignited a determination in me - How can I help bolster my child's courage in a gentle, nurturing way?
As a parent, it's not always easy to address every issue your child encounters or struggles with head-on. Sometimes, a slightly indirect method can produce a similar, if not better, outcome. An approach that occurred to me came from my love for books. Children's books, to be précised, filled with characters demonstrating various virtues including, yes, courage.
Children's books are packed with layers of wisdom, offering more than just fun and engaging stories. Inside their pages, they house numerous opportunities for children to experience the world through different perspectives, understand and process various emotions, identify role models, and essentially build character.
The Courageous Characters in Children's Literature
Often, many of these books revolve around a central character who, despite being faced with challenges or threats, exhibits the quality of courage. Characters like Harry Potter, Matilda, Max from 'Where the Wild Things Are,' or Sam from 'Green Eggs and Ham,' - they all show courage in different situations. Through them, children learn that courage isn't about not being afraid but facing those fears.
As a parent, my strategy pivoted to harness these well-crafted, colorful, and relatable stories and their characters. I embarked on reading sessions where the hero's courage became a central theme during our bedtime storytimes.
The Transformative Effect of Courageous Characters
The transformation in my child didn't occur overnight, but I began noticing subtle changes that indicated my approach was creating an impact. They started to resonate with the fictional characters and their struggles, often discussing how brave they thought these characters were. Gradually, I noticed my child implementing the same courage in their little ways.
Sharing through books allowed me to expose my child to the concept of courage without putting them on the spot. Instead of telling them to be brave, I could show them what courage looked like in different contexts and encourage them to find their own.
Final Thoughts
Navigating areas of difficulty with your child can feel like uncharted territory. However, through the power of children's books, we can impart essential life lessons such as courage, resilience, or empathy without overwhelming them. By identifying with the characters, children can learn to confront and overcome their fears, emphasizing that courage is a process and not a destination.
Whether it's difficulty with courage or any other struggle your child might be experiencing, don't underestimate the transformative power of a good book. Children's literature offers a gentle, enjoyable, and meaningful way of teaching important life lessons. Embrace the world of books, and you might be surprised at the magic it can weave in your child's life.

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