Recently I've been asked by so many friends and family members what I do to help teach my kids learn morals and values. Everything from saying please and thank you to sharing to the harder things like self-care and hygiene. My answer is always the same 1. Modeling the behavior you want your children to exhibit and 2. using books to teach. I wanted to just put my list of really great books together so that other parents can refer to it as a resource.
- What if everbody did that by Ellen Javernick:Sometimes we don't always realize that some of our behaviors are inappropriate. It's hard for children to identify how to behave in different social situations, and this book does a good job of teaching these concepts.
- Excuse Me by Karen Katz: It's important to not only model good manners but teach which situations to use manners in. This book does a great book of being repetitive and providing examples for when to use words like expressions, thank you and excuse me.
Physical AggressionSometimes issues of hitting and biting come up once children get their first sibling or they start school. It's part of children figuring out to express their feelings and can definitely be tricky for parents.
- Teeth are not for biting by Elizabeth Verdick: Sooner or later almost all children will either bite another child or be bitten when in school. It's something parents don't realize is incredibly common. It's important to work through this book to help prevent biting.
- Hands are not for hitting by Martine Agassi Ph.D.: Children need to learn that violence is never okay, and if you see your child hitting, talking to them about it and reading this book with them is a good first step.
FriendshipsFriendships are incredibly hard, it's not just about sharing and there are issues about bullying, how to make friends, and the ways to interact with others. It's really tough!
- How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson: What's nice about this book is that it shows both 'good' and 'bad' social behavior and what it actually takes to make friends.
- The Recess Queen by Alexis O'neill: Schoolyard bullying is something that's more and more common these days unfortunately. This book teaches children about recess dynamics, bullying, and how to handle bullying.
- How to be a friend by Laurie Krasny Brown: Even as adults we can really struggle with understanding friendships and this book shows children how to be a friend and ways not to be a friend.
Sharing and Team WorkAs your child continues to go to school, being able to interact in a positive way is incredibly important. They'll need to be able to share and cooperate with their classmates.
- Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney: Sometimes children can have feelings of not wanting to share and keep things to themselves. I love the Llama character and think kids can really engage with him.
- Sorry I forgot to ask! by Julia Cook: It's hard to understand that part of sharing and being in school means asking for permission to borrow and share things. This book talks about concepts of 'yours' and 'mine'.
- Teamwork isn't my thing, and I don't like to share! by Julia Cook: The art of sharing is a difficult one to master, and sometimes kids don't really understand the benefits. This book teaches that sharing and working with other kids can actually be fun.
Understanding FeelingsAdults have a hard time understanding and interpreting their own feelings, so doesn't it make complete and total sense that children would have equally or more of a difficult time?
- Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis: I think this is a particularly good book for helping children understand that feelings can change each day and even multiple times in a single day.
- Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Ed Emberley: Honestly, this book is just really cool because it's interactive and has incredibly bright and engaging images.
- Feelings to Share by Todd Snow: There are so many feelings covered in this book which is what I really like, everything from feeling shy to yucky and wishful.
- The Way I Feel by Janan Kane: I love love this book. Expressing feelings is such an important thing for children to be able to understand and know how to do from an early age. The inability to do so can cause so many problems later in life.
AngerFeelings of anger can be incredibly hard to explain to your child, they get frustrated because they feel angry but they don't always understand the feeling itself.
- Zach Gets Frustrated by William Mulachy: Discusses a young boy who gets frustrated and how he reacts to the things he's frustrated by - these are everyday things that most children can be irritated by. What's great about this book is that it teach skills for dealing with frustration productively.
- Cool Down and Work Through Anger by Chri J. Meiners M.Ed: an exercise book that tells children it's okay to feel angry, but it's not okay to act out and say rude or mean things as a result of those feelings.
- When I feel angry by Albert Whitman: The situations in this book are highly realistic, and so I think it will be easy for your child to relate to those situations, and then say internally "ok, when I experience this, I should react this way"
- When Sophie Gets Angry -- Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang: This is a particularly good book for siblings who become irritated with each other, as one of the main parts of the book discusses how sometimes siblings irritate us.