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
KATIE AND THE PUPPY NEXT DOOR by John Himmelman
(Available at your local public library or bookstores, including online stores.)
In KATIE AND THE PUPPY NEXT DOOR, Katie is a dog whose master gets a new neighbor – one that happens to have a lively puppy named Ruby. As the neighbors become friends, the pets, Katie and Ruby, are forced to be together. Katie is clearly told she is expected to be friendly and to share her things with Ruby. Ruby is a typical playful puppy and “helps herself to Katie’s things.” Katie, on the other hand is a typical dog and “She did not want to share her things. They were HER things.” Katie’s master pleaded with her, “Try to share your things. …. You should share your things with your friends. That’s what makes having friends fun.” When Ruby finally communicated that she wanted to play, Katie began to see she could actually have fun with Ruby. Katie ends up making friends with Ruby – so much so that she even decides to share her bed for an afternoon nap.”
New Baby Coming
While we are on the subject of sharing, let’s think for a minute about one of the most important sharing tasks we face as growing human beings – the addition of brothers or sisters to the family. Many years ago a very prominent parent educator used to compare the addition of a baby in a household to the following situation.
Imagine what it would be like if one day your husband said to you, “Honey, I love you so much and I am so happy being a husband to you that I am going to bring a new wife home to join our family.” Seriously? What on earth is he thinking? The point was that this is what it must be like when a child hears that a new baby is coming. A dear friend of mine told this story that says the same thing. At dinner one night she and her husband and her young son were talking about the arrival of his new brother that had happened just a few months ago. This first-born was not nearly as happy about it as the parents were. That was obvious when he asked very seriously, “Wasn’t I enough for you?”
Almost all of our young children are faced with the addition of a new baby in the family and many experience it not just once but several times. Sharing mom and dad is the most difficult thing any of us will ever have to share. If anything scares us about getting our needs met, it is that – another person is going to need the same things we need and need them from the same person I need them from.
Yes, we live through it and develop ways of dealing with this forced sharing. Some of us even learn to act like we are OK with it. Most of us at least learn to act like we have grown out of any hard feelings. But chances are, even as adults, we still don’t really want to share our parents’ love and attention. Yet, we expect children to readily and at an early age be excited about sharing their parents with a brother or sister.
We can help children with this situation. First, don’t expect them to be only happy and excited about a new baby. Realize there is a down side to this for them. They will also be sad and mad about this new arrival. Second, plan ways to show the child he hasn’t lost you to the new baby. Make sure he is still getting your time and attention. Make sure his routines are maintained. Allow him to talk about – even complain about – those things that are difficult for him because of the new baby. Plan special times for just you and the older child.
Daily Parenting Tip
What kind of parent do you want to be? Or grandparent, teacher or caregiver?
A GREAT one!
You can be exactly that – just “Decide and Practice.”
DECIDE what you are going to think about the kids in your life.
DECIDE what you are going to feel about the kids in your life.
DECIDE how you are going to act with the kids in your life.
Decide: Your child can be polite without having to give up all of his things.
Practice: Today, when your child has a chance to play with other children, before the playtime starts, make an agreement with her about what toys she is willing to share as part of the playtime. Put away toys she is not willing to share. (See “Playtime Sharing” in the Kids and Sharing pt 1 post.)
Make sure she understands that by having some toys to share she is learning to use her manners and is thinking about what will help other children have fun. Notice how the playtime goes. If there are problems, make notes about how you need to adjust the agreement next time.
Do fewer or different toys need to be selected?
Does she need more explanation about the fact that the toys selected will be available to other kids?
Should playtime be shorter?
Will a parent need to be near where children are playing to remind them of the agreement?
See tomorrow’s Daily Parenting Tip (8-9-13) for more on helping your child share.
Let us know which tips you like the best or any others you think of that you want to pass along to others.
Today’s Decide and Practice daily parenting tip was inspired by our featured picture book, KATIE AND THE PUPPY NEXT DOOR. Read the book to a child in your life each day as a reminder of what you are deciding and practicing that day.
Come back each day for another good parenting decision and how to practice it. (Each day’s activity will also be posted on Daily Parenting Tips page for easy access.)
Read All About It
GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson
SELF ESTEEM A FAMILY AFFAIR, Jean Illsley Clarke
CONNECTIONS: THE TREADS THAT STRENGTHEN FAMILIES, Jean Illsley Clarke
*HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David Bredehofts
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A CHILD LIKE THIS? Larry Tobin
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