What is one thing you would like your children to learn to do early in life? As a parent of 2 young girls, a 17-month-old and a 3-year-old, I want them to learn to share. Sometimes they do, but it is usually a toy they don’t want. If we have 2 similar toys and one has a dead battery, my 3-year-old will share the one with the dead battery while she plays with the one that works. More often, they fight over one toy. The 17-month wants whatever her older sister has and the older sister is unwilling to share. If the 3-year old wants something that the 17-month-old has, she just takes it away and the 17-month-old cries. Daddy is trying to teach the 3-year-old to hold out an open hand when she wants something and trying to get her to freely share. When they fight over a toy, Daddy often takes the toy away. Sound familiar?
Reading stories is one of the many tools I use to teach my children values. I believe is discussing the moral lessons and I am happy to read stories to my kids which present good examples of morals. The story, Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell and illustrated by Jennifer Finch, presents examples of sharing. Little Mouse wants a sweet treat and so visits friends asking for a treat. All are willing to share, but Little Mouse doesn’t like what they offer. Eventually, Little Mouse returns home and receives a sweet treat from Mommy that he does like. With each visit, a parent has the opportunity to ask their child, “will the character share?” When the friend does share, a parent can ask follow-up questions like “Why?” or “How does the character feel?”
I have baked cupcakes and cookies with my 3-year-old daughter. She is really excited to help and probably more excited to have the sweet treat. The wonderful thing about baking is that she must wait for the baking to be done before she can eat. It’s a lesson in patience as well as helping. Little Mouse exhausts himself searching for a sweet treat and doesn’t get one until he returns home. Parents can use this example as a lesson in patience. Also, it shows that Mommy understands best of all what her child likes. This offers a chance to teach a child that parents want to do what is best for a child.
The story is very simply written in a sing-song rhyming style. Young ears will appreciate the rhymes and the consistency of the story, but the real value for parents is the opportunity to teach values such as sharing, patience, and a parent’s love.
Shana Hollowell is a public health professional that grew up in Windsor, Virginia. She enjoys writing stories for her 2-year-old and 2-month-old. She lives in Suffolk, Virginia with her husband, 2 babies, 4 cats, 31 koi fish and hundreds of bonsai trees.
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