Developing a Moral Child Through Books
Children's Books are for Parents, Too
Any good children's books will speak to many audiences, not just the very young. The best children's books have a message for children and a message for parents. Whether it is reminding them not to worry or helping them through a difficult topic, children's books are a fun tool in a parent's toolbox. Reading certain books can help develop your child's moral and social intelligence. These books help parents talk about important social issues like empathy, honesty, and integrity. The book serve as conversation starters. As children talk about the issues, they form ideas about how they would act in similar situations.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
This children's story is a great for reminding parents that your child might be in midst of a terrible day. So when your child hits his brother or knocks over the milk, it might seem like it came out of nowhere, but it might be because of the terrible day they are having. The main character grows on you as you read the story and empathy builds. The book captures the child's mindset that is, let's face it, a little selfish and limited to their own perspective. Of course, children are developmentally limited from thinking from other people's perspective. It is perfectly normal for them to be caught up in their own bad day and not think too much about the bad day of others.
A Day's Work by Eve Bunting
A Day's Work features a grandfather and grandson who are looking for day labor. When they do a job incorrectly, the grandson learns that honesty is important. Beyond an important moral lesson, this book reminds parents (and grandparents) that children are looking to them to show them the right way. It allows children to think about honesty and integrity through the eyes of an immigrant. The lessons are embedded in the plot and the characters.
There's No Such Thing as a Dragon
This story shows a little boy named Billy who awakens to find a small dragon in his bedroom. He tells his parents but no one will believe him. The more the adults ignore the dragon, the bigger he gets. This story is a great reminder to parents that problems left ignored can get out of hand. The story features the child as the wise hero and parents as the clueless ones. How often do we see that is the case! This story serves as a cautionary tale for all those households that are dutifully ignoring the problems that may be bringing the house to ruin.
Don't worry if your children don't "get it." The first time you read these stories. The lessons are embedded deep in the stories, so it is worth giving children time to learn to love the story. Later they may reflect on the lessons in them and begin to see the wisdom. You don't have to force the moral of the story on them. Beginning these conversations at a young age is enough.
Educational Online Games
- Magnetic Poetry Masters
Rearrange the poetry of the masters, Shakespeare, Shelley, Whitman, and e.e. cummings to create a new poem. This magnetic poetry game is great for teaching grammar and vocabulary.