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
TIA ISA WANTS A CAR by Meg Medina
(Available in public libraries or bookstores, including online stores.)
In TIA ISA WANTS A CAR, Tia Isa desperately wants a car so she can drive to the beach that reminds her of her island homeland. The problem is that Tia Isa doesn’t have enough money. When her brother hears of her plan, “’Don’t be ridiculous!’” he says. “’You are not a rich queen!’” But, Tia Isa is determined, “We’ll see about that,” she answers.
Tia Isa knew, “’… it’s hard to wait for good things to happen,’” but she would say, “’We’ll have the money soon,’ …” However, Tia Isa’s niece knew that “… soon is when our family is going to join us here, … soon can be a very long time.” She knew she needed to do something to help.
Without Tia Isa knowing, she seeks all sorts of odd jobs to earn money for the car.
Even though, of everything she earned, a large amount was “’ … helping money …” which was sent back home, one day Tia Isa’s niece realized, “…my secret money sock has grown into a giant money sausage…” The wait was over. The goal was reached.
Tia Isa’s niece announced to everyone she saw, “’Tia Isa bought a car!’” It was a long wait, but good things really did happen, just like Tia Isa and her niece knew they would all along.
The “terrible twos” and learning to wait
Now, here is an interesting thought. Young children are learning to wait for what they want at the very early age of 18 months to three-years-old. You may recognize this as the dreaded “no” stage. Well here is something positive about that difficult time. When children begin to say no it’s a sign that they know what they want. You have to know what you want to be able to plan for having what you want. They are beginning to think for themselves. You have to think for yourself to be able to plan ahead. They can be annoyingly persistent during this “no” stage. Waiting is all about being persistent. You are able to wait because you trust yourself to stay on task and believe you will reach your goal eventually. In other words, being able to wait means you have to know what you want and how much you want it, plan for how to get it and then stick to a plan and persist until you get it. Who would have thought that this was what was behind all that no-saying at age two. The “terrible twos” at the same time they are challenging and frustrating are the “terrific twos” because they are a time when your child can learn very valuable lessons.
So, all of you parents that are in that “no” stage with your children, remember that the plus side is that they are practicing persistence – unfortunately it is persistence at having their own way and it is important that we insist on our way for many things when they are so young. Nonetheless, we can hold the line on what we need them to do while still encouraging them to think for themselves and to be persistent. For example, when we let them struggle to put the puzzle together or reach a toy or learn to turn a toy on we are encouraging their persistence. When we jump in and “help” to avoid the tantrum the child might have, we stop that persistence from paying off for the child. Yes, they get what they want, but not of their own doing.
You can insist they do what they need to do, but you do not need to punish or criticize them for saying no or insist that they not use that word. A message that says you know they don’t want to do this or that, but they must because…. is a good one.
Teaching about money management
Another way we over-do for children is that we protect our children way too much from the realities of money. Children need to know about your household money. They don’t need to have the adult pressures and worries, but the reality of what money there is and what the house priorities are they should know.
When my daughter was very young (maybe first grade), I would make a list of all the bills and how much needed to be paid and then I had her actually write the checks. She learned how much money went where. She also learnedhow to write checks and spell numbers – something she would need to know for school.
This strategy may not work so well now, since so much bill paying is done electronically, but the point is, we need to find ways to let children know how our household works moneywise. How are you involving your kids in household money matters?
Many experts recommend insisting that money the child receives be divided into save, spend, and donate. This system is designed to teach the value of helping others and “waiting” until you need your money down the road while still allowing the child to have the fun experience of making immediate spending decisions.
One mom told me she applied this to all money the child received, even gifts from family members. She did also say she sometimes had mutiny. The child’s grandmother would sometimes send money and note on the gift that it was exempt from this requirement, which to the child made it a very special gift.
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.)
- You can say “no” but I will make sure you won’t hurt yourself or other people and things around you.
- I will let you try over and over again because I know you can do it.
- Here are things you need to know and be able to do to take care of yourself.
Read All About It
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH, Jean Illsley Clarke, Connie Dawson and David J. Bredehoft
GROWING UP AGAIN, Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson
AM I DOING TOO MCUH FOR MY CHILD? Elizabeth Crary
Surf the Internet:
money management for kids
advertising to kids
kids saying no
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 Teaching Kids to Wait.
Have students read the post and write about:
Whether they are good at setting goals and working to get them? Have them give examples.
- Their career aspirations. What are three things they want to do? What are they studying in school now that will help them reach that goal? What else will they need to study?
- Are they influenced by advertising they see on TV? Why or why not?
- Do they think there is too much advertising or the wrong type of advertising in our society? If so, what would they do about it? If not, why not?