Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Teach Morals to Young Children

Teaching moral lessons to young children can often be a difficult thing to do. With the recent celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. day last week, and yesterday's (01/27/2015) 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, my wife and I were struggling to find an appropriate way to help our children understand why some people hate others. We also wanted to point out how silly it can be to hate others based on the way they look or what they believe. Thankfully, Dr. Seuss came to the rescue. In fact, one Dr. Seuss book contains four stories that each teach a very different, but important moral. In great Dr. Seuss fashion, The Sneetches and Other Stories, teaches very clearly a variety of different morals in such a way that keeps a young child's attention. After reading the story about The Sneetches to our children, they were able to see that sometimes people are judged by how they look, even though in most other aspects there is no difference.

This experience with my own children got me wondering about what other morals or lessons are hidden in plain sight within Dr. Seuss books. While, teaching morals in a fun, engaging way is not exclusive to Dr. Seuss, because his books are so readily available, I have listed below the various books and morals taught in them for others to use:

  • The Sneetches  - Discrimination
  • The Zax  - Hard-headedness
  • Too Many Daves - Think before you act
  • What was I Scared of? - Get to know others before judging
  • The Lorax - Be kind to the environment
  • Happy Birthday to You - You don't always get what you want
  • Yertle the Turtle - We all have our own strengths
  • Bartholomew and the Oobleck - Stand up for what's right
  • Gustav, the Goldfish - Follow instructions
  • Horton Hears a Who - Do what is right, despite persecution
  • The Bippolo Seed - The problem of greed
  • Hunches in Bunches - Making choices
  • Hurray for Diffendoofer Day - Be different
  • I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew - Push through hard things
  • Hooper Humperdink...? Not Him! - Be kind to others
I'm sure there are many others, what books or stories have you used to teach lessons or morals to your children? 

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