Reading with children

a blog by Magic Tales

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Rescuing Respect: Can Children’s Books Help Cultify Respect in Our Kids?

Every parent’s struggle is unique, yet a few themes are universally recognized across the globe. Recently I've been grappling with an issue around respect with my child. Let me provide a bit of context here.
Several weeks ago, my little one started displaying a noticeable lack of respect for both me and my partner. It ranged from common activities like refusing to pack away their toys after playing, to the more serious episodes of backchatting and disobedience. I'm sure many parents reading this post can relate to what I'm going through.
I have been actively seeking solutions to help implicitly teach respect and reinforce its importance. After much research and thought, I realized the solution might have been sitting on my child's bookshelf the entire time. This made me ponder, 'Can Children's Books Cultivate Respect in Our Kids?' Let's explore this thought some more.
A Treasure Trove Right at Home
Children's books are not just animated pages filled with whimsical plots and charming illustrations. They are also powerful tools for instilling values and virtues in young, impressionable minds. Respect, as a virtue, should be no different. It can be nurtured into a child's character through carefully selected children's books.
Books like 'Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners' by Laurie Keller and 'The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect' by Jan and Mike Berenstain directly address the concept of respect. These books take into account the cognitive capacity of children and simplify the concept of respect through engaging stories and identifiable characters. And there are so many more similar books out there which subtly teach children about showing regard for others' feelings, rights, and traditions.
Books Need Action
However, just reading these books to our kids won’t automatically instill respect - we know that. What matters is the dialogue that ensues afterward; the application of learned behaviors in real-world interactions. We as parents have a vital role to play.
For instance, when reading 'The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect', pause and talk about the situations in the book where respect was lacking. Ask questions like 'How do you think Brother and Sister Bear should have behaved?' or 'How do you think Papa Bear would have felt?'
Let's Write Ourselves into Their Story
To make an even stronger impact, create personalized versions of these stories where you and your child are the characters. This not only makes the storytelling more interesting but, more importantly, effectively reinforces how the taught behavior applies to their immediate reality.
In Conclusion
Respect is vital for the existence of any healthy relationship, and teaching it from an early age is key. As parents, it’s our duty to take proactive steps to instill this valuable trait in our children - and in the pursuit of this goal, it seems that our ally can be well within reach, sitting quietly on our child’s bookshelf.
Let's read, re-read, discuss and instill. Let's turn to books to help us raise a more mindful, respectful generation.
The journey may seem long and perhaps a little challenging, but let's remember that the journey of building lasting values is just that - a journey. And to all the parents out there, hang in there. And remember, the story is only as powerful as the lessons it conveys.

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