The pandemic has been hard on us all, but it has been the hardest on the
3-6 year old’s who would have just started going to playschool / formal school and the pandemic upset everything. These little ones who were just learning the ABCs of social etiquette and interaction, were suddenly locked within four walls. Of course, the tantrums and the meltdowns were inevitable. Here are the books we read to deal with the big emotions, settle the meltdowns and get the etiquette in place.
- Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank you Book: My 4 yr old is a big Richard Scarry fan, so this was a natural choice when he seemed to have forgotten his magic words. However, the book turned out to be much more than just magic words. It encourages children to listen, to say yes and try out things, to be good friends, to not be mean and be good citizens. All of this through sweet, cute stories involving Lowly the worm and Pig Will and Pig Won’t. It also comes with stickers!
- Have You Filled A Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud: If you decide to get only one book from this list, get this one. This has been a life changing book, and I’m sure the learning from this book will stay with my child till he is an adult. The book is how we all have an invisible and how each action of ours either fills our (and other’s) bucket or empties it. Beautiful book with wonderful illustrations.
- Horrible Bear! by Ame Dyckman: No child likes to say sorry. We went through a phase where saying sorry was the hardest thing for my son. This book helped us tremendously. There are so many things that I love about this book but most important is its simplicity. A girl’s kite gets broken by mistake by the bear, she’s furious, the bear is even more furious (how can the girl be angry at me, when I didn’t break it, it broke by mistake), then the girl realises her mistake, and says sorry. With that one sorry, she feels better, the bear feels better, and they are able to repair the broken kite! The power of sorry could not be better told really.
- I’ll Wait, Mr Panda by Steve Antony: This book carries the age old message of “Sabr ka phal meetha hota hai” (It literally does because the only animal who has the patience to wait is rewarded with a surprise sweet treat). It has beautiful illustrations, with very little text (making it appropriate for ages 1 and above). What I love about it is how it explains the whole concept of waiting and being patient, without really being preachy. All of Mr. Panda books are brilliant to teach manners or are based on behaviour related themes.
- It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni: A wonderful book to teach sharing and selflessness. It’s a beautiful story about three frogs who are petty and self centered. A huge storm and incessant rain that threatens to drown them, forces them to take a relook at their attitude. I like the book also because it isn’t about sharing a toy or material, but about helping and being selfless which is the essence of sharing.
- Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival: Kids can often turn into tigers with a roar, especially in this pandemic and this book has helped us tremendously in calming ourselves down. A beautiful picture book that illustrates a little boy getting frustrated and angry, and ultimately getting over it. The illustrations and simple text help even young kids understand the emotion of anger and help them gain control of their emotions.
- Max and Bird by Ed Vere: A lovely book on friendship as well as conflict resolution for children. Max the cat wants to eat the bird, and they have a deal that the cat will first teach the bird to fly, then they will have discussions on chasing and eating. The story is all about how the cat tries to teach the bird how to fly, because helping is what friends do, and the dilemma he faces when he does successfully manage to teach the bird how to fly – should he eat his friend? Is that what friends do? This book made for some very interesting conversations, including what is friendship, what do friends do for each other, what is ideal ‘friend’ behaviour, and of course ‘should we eat (fight, hit) our friends?’
- Dealing with Feelings book set 1 by Sonia Mehta: An absolute must have for all pre-schoolers. The books help pre-schoolers understand not only their emotions but also that of others. The stories are set in a forest, are extremely engaging, have colorful pictures and have had my son hooked to them! Dealing with Feelings Boxset 2 (6 books) is also apt for 3 yrs+.
- Sneaky Beak by Tracey Corderoy: A side effect of the pandemic and being indoors has been that most of us tend to indulge our kids with more and more toys. But, if you are looking to make your child understand the perils of materialism, this is the perfect book. A funny story about a bear who wants more and more, but ultimately realises not only his foolishness but also realises exactly what matters in life – family and loved ones.
- Atchoo!: The Complete Guide to Good Manners by Mij Kelly and Mary McQuillan: This is a lovely book to introduce your child to basic manners, hygiene, and kindness. The book explains how kindness trumps everything, even manners. You can’t be rude, impolite and hurt others on the pretext of following manners. My 4 yr old loves the rhyming text and the uncommon words used in this one.
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