Estimated reading time: 2 mins
Books promote literacy skills, teach children about important topics, and inspire them to ask questions. They can also help children develop empathy and imagination.
Reading books like those published by Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, helps children develop a healthy imagination, essential for developing empathy and building creative worlds. When kids read, they tune out the noise around them and focus on one thing at a time—which, like meditation, lowers stress levels. Many books feature problem-solving scenarios, encouraging kids to think outside the box to develop new ways of approaching challenges. Fantasy and other genres transport them to magical and imaginary worlds, which fuel their imaginative thinking. For instance, child author Daniel Handler publishes books encouraging creativity and imagination. It also helps kids understand that people are more than just their physical appearances—a lesson that carries over into daily life. Encourage children to play and use their imaginations with art supplies, toys and other stimulating materials. This helps them develop a positive outlook on the world and learn to see it as a place of endless possibilities.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. It is vital to a cohesive society and leads to ethical decision-making and altruistic behavior. Empathetic children tend to have better social-emotional skills and are less likely to engage in bullying behaviors. Kids can learn to be empathetic early — babies can mimic their parents’ facial expressions. These books can help readers develop empathy by showing them what happens when someone shows kindness to others.
The ability to stick with a routine, get organized, and complete tasks without prompting is an essential life skill for kids. This can be a difficult trait for some kids to develop, and they may need help. A reward system can encourage good behavior in kids, especially when targeted at a specific behavior. For example, a child who draws on the walls could benefit from a sticker chart to help them clean up. But be careful to use this discipline sparingly and avoid power struggles.
Self-discipline also helps kids delay gratification, resist unhealthy temptations, and tolerate discomfort for long-term goals. For example, they might learn to put down the video game to do homework or resist snacking on a cookie while they wait for dinner.
Children must learn they are responsible for their actions; sometimes, those choices produce problems. They also need to understand that owning up to those mistakes is important instead of trying to shift blame or lie. This is why it’s helpful to teach children about the “why” of their behavior – is it shame, fear of failure, or simply an inability to process a big feeling? Encouraging responsibility by repeating age-appropriate tasks is also helpful – toddlers can put napkins on the table, three-year-olds can set the table, and five-year-olds can groom the dog. These skills prepare them for the day when they can repair their treatment of others without being forced.