Books are a lovely way to introduce concepts to kids in a fun, memorable, and non-threatening way. Whether you are trying to introduce a new character trait – such as kindness or responsibility – or trying to correct a behaviour – such as lying or hitting – here are some of my favourite character education books for kids.
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Excuse Me!: A Little Book of Manners is a sweet and simple lift-the-flap book to teach toddlers basic manners (please, thank you, sorry, etc). It offers a fun way to teach and reinforce everyday phrases we want our young children to learn.
Words Are Not for Hurting is an introduction to how words can be used for good and bad. With an aim to help kids empathise with who they are talking to and learn appropriate behaviour, it offers an easy avenue to discuss why we say “sorry” and why we should focus on being kind. Great for toddlers and preschoolers. Other books in the Best Behaviour board book series are aimed at correcting undesirable behaviours and offering children a better choice. They include: Hands Are Not for Hitting ; Teeth Are Not for Biting ; Feet Are Not for Kicking
Calm-Down Time shows a young child techniques for calming down even when they feel upset inside. More books in the Toddler Tools board book series include: Sharing Time ; Manners Time ; Listening Time. These books are wonderful to read one on one or in a group of children, as they feature interactions between kids, sometimes in a classroom setting.
Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons is one of my favourite concept books to learn about character traits because all the situations are related to cookies! This makes it totally relatable to kids as well as interesting. For example, “Generous means offering some to others” with a picture of a cat handing out cookies to all her friends. A fun read for children and adults, complete with a cookie recipe in the back.
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids is a powerful introduction to what kindness is and how we gain happiness from helping, not hurting, others. Great for explaining why bullying doesn’t make any one feel better in the long run and gives easy examples of how kids can “fill buckets” every day.
Bucket Filling from A to Z: The Key to Being Happy is the follow-up book to the one listed above, and goes a bit deeper into what it means to be a “Bucket Filler.” These are two of my sons’ favourite books at the moment (they are 3 an 6 years old) and I know older children love them too. Being a “Bucket Filler” is a simple yet profound concept, and it really makes sense to kids and adults alike. Highly recommend both these books.
The Way I Act shows character traits in action, giving kids examples of how they might practice good character every day. Ending with an inspirational line about how actions show who we are and who we want to be, it’s a lovely addition to any family’s collection of character education books.
We Can Get Along: A Child’s Book of Choices is a wonderful avenue to introduce healthy relationship habits to kids. It goes through basic feelings and choices that kids experience when interacting with their peers, and offers encouragement to make good choices to deal with these. The illustrations are detailed and interesting, and overall the book offers a non-threatening, positive way to help children consider the everyday choices they make.
The Learning to Get Along series is an amazing collection of books covering topics such as honesty, generosity, being afraid, taking turns, following the rules and more. Bright descriptive pictures engage kids and really get the concepts across. Great for classrooms as well as families. These books are recommended for children ages 4-8 however quite a few were appropriate for my oldest son when he was three, and he absolutely adored them. You can really cover a lot of questions with this series.
Be Honest and Tell the Truth
Accept and Value Each Person
Respect and Take Care of Things
Share and Take Turns
Be Polite and Kind
Cool Down and Work Through Anger
Know and Follow Rules
Talk and Work It Out
Join In and Play
Understand and Care
Try and Stick with It
Listen and Learn
When I Feel Afraid
Be Careful and Stay Safe
Character Building Day by Day: 180 Quick Read-Alouds for Elementary School and Home is a book I am currently reading with my kids a few times a week. This is different than the other books listed above as it’s not a “concept book” but has actual short stories to exemplify the various character traits. Meant for older children, it’s more appropriate for my 6 year old but my 3 year old is still learning from the discussions we have after each story.
There are also some gorgeous personalised books by I See Me – at least two of which focus on character building themes:
M is for Me goes through the ABCs listing character traits such as friendly, generous, patient, and wise. Not only does your child’s name appear on the cover and in several places throughout the book but you can also have a note and photograph printed on the inside AND choose a colour scheme! The book offers a great starting point to discuss positive qualities and boost self esteem, and would make a gorgeous gift. Find out more here.
I Can Change the World puts your child into a story about offering acts of kindness to others! What a lovely and empowering book for children to enjoy. Find out more here.
Giveaway! Now Ended
I See Me has kindly offered one Moments A Day reader the opportunity to personalise a copy of I Can Change the World for their child. The competition is open to residents of all countries (shipping will be included) and closes on 5 December 2014.
To enter the competition to win a copy of I Can Change the World simply answer the following question:
What was your favourite or most memorable gift as a child and why?
Terms and Conditions:
The giveaway is for one personalised copy of “I Can Change the World” RRP $29.95 including delivery anywhere in the world.
You must leave a name and email address when making a comment.
The winner will be deemed most creative/interesting response as chosen by the supplier. This is a game of skill, not chance.
Entries close on December 5. Judges decision is final. Winner must respond within 48 hours or prize will be awarded to the runner up.
Thanks to I See Me for sending me a copy of Me is for Me to review. All opinions are my own. To find out more about advertisement and reviews on my website please click here.