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Oh my goodness! Do your kids ever go through seasons where there’s always someone crying over toys, turns, one dominating the other, and so on and so on. It’s enough to make a mama want to hide in the bathroom and eat salted chocolate. (Anyone with me?)
But these disagreements are typical and the way siblings learn to have relationships with other people. Resolving these disagreements teaches our children empathy and cooperation.
And boy oh boy are those skills hard to teach. But alas, they are lessons that must be learned.
I love using books as a teaching tool when kids are having one of those days.
It’s a lot easier to point out how conflict works for good when there are cute pictures and a possibility of a puppet show reenactment or a picture or a skit. These are some of my favorite learning experiences with my children.
Having fun while we work on heart skills is so rewarding and fulfilling and they really do learn from them.
So, without further ado, here are three books I love for teaching empathy and cooperation.
This tale about cooperation features the adorable artwork of Tad Hills. The two friends take “possession” of an egg they find and they spend the majority of the book cooperating in the spirit of not missing the hatching of their baby. They plan all the things they will teach their baby and eventually teach each other to honk and quack. It’s such a cute story that illustrates why we don’t need to make assumptions and take sides. We’re often surprised at the outcome. Perfect for age 3-8.
A Tale of Two Beasts, By Fiona Robertson
This is one of my favorite books on empathy and looking at things from more than one angle. The story is told from the little girl’s perspective of how she finds this lonely beast that needs a warm home while she’s in the forest. The second half of the book is told from the beasts’ perspective. And the ending is just magical. It’s hard to teach the “Look at the situation from his/her point of view” when kids are in the concrete thinking age of 3-10.
This book gives a great example to show kids there are two sides to every story. And it’s full of boy-friendly words like “terrible” and “beast.” My 3.5-year-old loves this book. Perfect for 3-10.
Oh! Aesop was a master at getting stories out there that make you think. I love the short, colorful fables and using them with my oldest (8) to teach life lessons. We do one fable a week as part of our homeschool, but these are great for anytime. We do them at what I call Morning Time. It’s our time to bring truth, beauty and goodness to our day. The littles like the story, but the big one walks away with a big dose of truth told under the guise of an animal. I particularly like The Lion & the Mouse and The Sun and the Wind. This edition is very beautifully illustrated, which is great for keeping visual kids interested. My oldest wouldn’t read anything without pictures for a very long time.
I also love how close these stories are to parables. They make a great introduction the critical thinking skills that will be honed in the dialectic stage (reasoning is honed) of Classical learning. (We use Classical education in our home, so you may hear a lot about this on the blog. A great resource on this topic is Classical Christian Homeschooling)
That’s it for today! I hope you find a book to help you teach a great lesson to your children. Books lead to great discussions which lead to heart change.