We have been amazed at how much good parenting information is in children’s picture books – books that we hope you are reading everyday to the children in your lives – your own, your class, those you take care of. We will be pointing these parenting gems out to you so that every time you read one of our featured books to a child you will be reminded of the parent you want to be.
Featured Picture Book
STARS by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee
(Available in public libraries or bookstores, including online stores.)
This may surprise you, but STARS is a book about stars. Page after page we see stars in all their glory. Page after page we see real and imagined ways that children can relate to stars – on a stick, in their pocket, as flowers, drawn on craft paper, placed on a calendar and in the sky – even “if sometimes you can’t see them, they’re still there.”
STARS can do so much more that just flirt with your child’s imagination and make him more aware of stars than ever before. It can make us all – you and your child – think about the star within each of us.
When I read STARS, I wanted to have it end with a mirror making the last star image in the book be the child himself. As parents we need to help each child know the star he is and the star he can become. Babies need to know they are important. (See our post, Decisions Babies Make– 2/1/13 archives.) And, that importance needs to be balanced. (See our post. And Calm Fell Over the Household – 1/15/13 archives.) They need to know they are important because they are who they are – that’s one kind of star. They also need to know they are important for what they can do really well – that’s another kind of star. Your child is both. Look for ways to show him that he is both.
Here’s my suggestion. Read STARS to a child and then begin to add stars to her life in ever so many ways. Ask her what starry thing she did today? Did you feel like a star today? When? Why? How could you make your sister, brother or friend feel like a star?
The word, “star” could become a secret whisper between you and your child that tells him you are seeing him as a shining star right then. Write him notes that just say, “You are a star.” Then, maybe at bedtime, ask him what he thinks you meant by that. Give him a star gift that fits in his pocket. Tell him it is there to remind him every time he feels it that he is important.
On a day that goes badly, and you nor he is feeling “starry,” you can talk about how to get your “star” back on. You can explain that we never lose our “starness” forever because night comes, the stars come out again and again and people can always do better and be better from one day to the next.
Now, let’s talk about making amends. It will help anyone get their star back on and is a great thing for children. When a child does something wrong he needs to be able to make it right again. That’s “getting your star back on.” Actually doing something to make amends is so much better than just saying you are sorry. If the child hurts someone,they can get ice or a bandage for the injury or offer to play the person’s favorite game to make him feel better. If the child breaks something, he can help fix it, pay to have it fixed or offer the owner something nice to substitute for it. This is making amends and it can repair a person’s view of himself at the same time it is making the victim feel better. It is important even when the incident was an accident.
Find as many ways as possible to say or act out the following messages with your kids: (Adapted from GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson.)
- I love watching you grow up.
- I love who you are.
- I like you.
- I want to be with you.
Read All About It
SELF-ESTEEM: A FAMILY AFFAIR, Jean Illsley Clarke
GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson
TIME-IN, Jean Illsley Clarke
CONNECTIONS, Jean Illsley Clarke
Surf the Internet:
self-esteem, restitution, time-in, making amends
Teachers, this is your place. Read all about how to use this blog in your classroom at the Teacher’s Corner.
Here are our newest ideas based on Your Child Is a Star.
Have students read the blog and write about:
- What starry thing they did today.
- What makes them feel like a star?
- Whether they felt like a star today and when.
- How could they make a sister, brother or friend feel like a star?
- When things go all wrong, how do they get their “star” back on?
- Have they ever made restitution for something? How?