Martin Luther King Jr. Day is this weekend, and it's the perfect opportunity to teach tots a bit about the great man and what he was struggling for — and against. There's nothing simple about his life, struggle, or the civil rights movement, but click through for several kid-friendly tomes written on the powerful subject.
Try as we might to shield our children from harm and the horrors of the world, sometimes it is best to face it head-on. As we remember the events of Sept. 11th today, we will be inundated with images of the burning twin towers, the Pentagon in smoke, and a plane in a field. Turn off the TV, and lil ones are still likely to see the images when Mom turns on the computer or Dad opens the newspaper. Lil ones who weren't even glints in our eyes are now old enough to ask what it's all about. A number of books have been written about the events, but these six are geared to young tots to help introduce it in an age-appropriate manner.
Sibling rivalry alert! The impending arrival of a new baby in the house is exciting but not necessarily issue-free. When the new lil one is joining a big brother or sister — especially one who's used to having mama and daddy all to herself — a certain amount of jealousy and fear is bound to crop up. Keep reading for eight great books to help talk to tots about the joy of bringing a new baby into the household — while still addressing their fears and concerns.
Anyone who has grown up with someone close to them drinking or abusing drugs knows that the problem extends far beyond the actual user. Alcoholic households are characterized by chaos; tots thrive on consistency and reliability, so the effects can be devastating. Just like talking to tots about sex, talking to young children about drug and alcohol abuse — especially when it's in the home — has the potential to confuse the issue even more. Keep reading for a selection of children's books that will help adults navigate the tricky topic and reassure tots that it's not their fault.
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels, but do your tots need to be reading about it?
Paul M. Kramer thinks so. The author of several self-published books about tough issues kids face (including Bullies Beware! and Divorce Stinks!) isn't set to release his latest title until October, but it's already generating criticism. Maggie Goes on a Diet ($11) is intended to teach tots (ages 4-8) about the importance of eating a healthy diet by telling the rhyming story of pudgy Maggie who goes on a diet in order to become the star of the soccer team. According to the publisher, "Maggie has so much potential that has been hiding under her extra weight."
But is the message really the importance of a healthy diet or that being slim guarantees success? If that is the message, is it one that we should be teaching young girls?
The Beatles may have gotten it right when they sang, "I don't care too much for money, for money can't buy me love," but the fact remains that money is an essential part of our lives. The current economic downturn has impacted American families from all walks of life, and that includes tots. Parents want to protect their carefree children from the financial anxieties that keep them up at night, but even toddlers can pick up on stress within the home. Books can help with communication regarding family budgets or cutbacks that may be happening by presenting them in a clear and age-appropriate manner. Keep reading for a selection that will help guide parents through the confusing issues surrounding money and finances.
Bullying is a major concern for parents, and with good reason. According to an American Justice Department school bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics study, 77 percent of the students said they had been bullied, and 14 percent of those who were bullied reported they experienced severe reactions to the abuse. One out of every five kids admitted to being a bully, and it's reported that a whopping 160,000 students miss school every day for fear of being bullied. Whether your kids are getting bullied — or doing the bullying — before heading off to school, check out these books to help talk to your kids about the difficult topic.
Of the many difficult conversations parents have with their children, talking to lil ones about inappropriate touching or sexual abuse may be the toughest. It's a parent's worst nightmare to imagine someone hurting their innocent child, and while most parents don't want to fill their kids' heads with fears, there are age-appropriate ways to discuss the subject in ways that won't frighten them. Keep reading for a selection of books that will help guide parents through this important, but unsettling, topic.
Move on up! For parents, a move is often the result of something positive — a new job or a new baby on the way — but for a kid, whether across town or across the country, a move can be a truly frightening experience. A first move, when tots are leaving the only home they have ever known, can be especially scary when all of the unknowns lead to anxiety. Books are often a great way to get the conversation started. These books are all about kids who also didn't want to move, how they got through it, and how they wound up happy in their new homes.
Kids are naturally curious, and there comes a point when most start asking tough questions. They want to know why the sky is blue, if the moon is really made of cheese, and eventually, most want to know where they came from. For most parents, this is the moment when they must figure out how to best explain the birds and the bees. For parents who've adopted, the question has a whole other meaning. Whether mom and dad have been talking to kids about their adoption from day one, or if it's a brand-new concept for them, these books will help get the conversation rolling.