A good storybook can say something without you saying anything.
Family researcher Heather Johnson says some books already on your shelf will be helpful parenting tools, if you let them.
One of our favorite Berenstain Bear books talks about using good manners. At one point, Sister Bear is in Brother Bear’s way, and instead of getting mad; Brother says “no harm done.”
After reading this to our kids we started saying “no harm done” around the house, when similar situations happened. It helped our kids remember what they had been taught in the book and reiterate the principles in our everyday experiences. It is this reiteration that solidifies the values that books teach.
Books have the power to teach our children values and life skills. They can help emphasize principles we are already trying to teach our children, like the importance of using good manners, and they help shape our children’s character. Books are also a great way to help our children understand concepts we might not know how to explain.
Not all books help our children. When our son was young, we started reading him books from the very popular Mercer Mayer Series. We read them a few times a day and after about a week, I noticed his behavior was changing. He was snotty, and talked back. It didn’t take long to realize that he was talking just like the character in the book. We stopped reading them and his behavior went back to normal.
There are many great book choices out there. Here are a few suggestions to get you and your family started.
· “Berenstain Bears” by Stan and Jan Berenstain – There are a number of Berenstain Bears books. Every one teaches valuable principles.
· “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Suess- A household favorite that teaches our children to try new things and eat their vegetables.
· “The Little Engine that Could” by Watty Piper – Teaches perseverance and the importance of not giving up.
· “If I Obey I’ll Be Happy All Day by Peggy Barton – One of the very best books about obedience.
· “I Like Myself” by Karen Beaumont – Teaches self-esteem and self confidence.
· “The Empty Pot” by Demi – A story about Failure.
· “Why Do You Always Have To Say Please” by Wendy Rosen and Jackie End – Teaches proper manners when you eat at a restaurant.
· “Power Series” – 12 different books on a number of subjects (values and life skills. The power of Courage, The Power of Perseverance, etc…)
Books are powerful tools. They can help our children through new growth stages, or experiences that are new and unfamiliar. They can help ease anxiety and help them cope with situations like starting school, moving, or bringing home a new baby.
It can seem preachy to our children when they are constantly hearing counsel and reprimands from us. Books allow our children to hear from someone else where they feel less threatened.
Bond with your child and teach values and life skills at the same time, by reading together. You will never regret it.
Find and follow Heather’s advice for parenting and living a rich family life at: